In the triptych 'Nescientia,' the three panels are dominated by the central figures of the Apollo Belvedere
(modified), the Wise and Compassionate Buddha (vivisected), and the Crucified Christ (crucifix)- three ideals of art and religion.
Curated by Settis and Davide Gasparotto from the Getty Museum, this display reveals how certain Graeco-Roman types gained canonical status in Renaissance Europe through being shrunk and commoditised --as a fist-sized Crouching Venus, or a gilt and bronze figurine of the Apollo Belvedere
Many ancient depictions of Apollo were available to the artist, both in Florence and Rome, the most famous being the Apollo Belvedere
, a Roman copy from the second century CE of a Greek bonze (350-325 BCE).
A Winckelmannian universe (an ancient marble Antinous, an eighteenth-century bronze copy of the Apollo Belvedere
In figure 32, a classical head after the Apollo Belvedere
is misidentified as that of a Roman emperor.
The Vatican and the Capitoline museums in Rome had yielded the Apollo Belvedere
, the Venus di Medici, the Discobolus, the Laocoon and the Dying Gaul plus sixty or more other pieces.
For some, disquiet may soon turn to alarm, as the remaining pages fill with geometrical diagrams, mathematical symbols, fractions, equations, sketches of flatfish, sunflowers, and horses, computergenerated images derived from fractals, and more or less grainy photographs of the Apollo Belvedere
, sculptures at Chartres Cathedral, and sundry works of Raphael, Duccio, Durer, Mondrian, and Aristide Maillol--not to mention the Parthenon, the Pyramids, and a singularly unattractive Le Corbusier apartment building in sunny Marseilles.
Thus, for Christ Michelangelo quotes the Apollo Belvedere
to cast him as the Sun of Justice and to recall that a temple of Apollo once stood near St.
Soane collected an enormous quantity of classical and Renaissance statues, busts and casts, from a replica of the Apollo Belvedere
to stray bits of feet and toes.
Sherlock Holmes, after all, personifies the ideal of scientific progress since classical antiquity, and so it seems only fitting that he bear the visage of the Apollo Belvedere
as a vestige of his great ancestors.
Outside the frosted windows, cans, are frozen to the streets, amute as we are, aghast at the sun and dazzle of fact fragmenting: high rose windows and the Apollo Belvedere
seem mere islands of belief that drift.
Despite its artistic merit, compared to the Apollo Belvedere
(its prime source of inspiration), the group has had a negligible subsequent influence on the visual arts.