No. 118 (essentialsaltes) wrote,
No. 118

The Infinity of Lists, by Umberto Eco

Following Beauty and Ugliness, Eco & Rizzoli have turned to lists. I'm afraid this outing is much less successful than those two. Eco's own musings range from the insipid to the impenetrable. As in the other books, the various categories of list are exemplified by artwork and extracts from literature. The literary excerpts are, understandably, lists; consequently, many of them have all the vibrancy and charm of the genealogies in the Bible. I mean the Catalogue of Ships is cromulent enough that I'm sure most of you recognize the reference, but it does not make for exciting reading. Some of the quoted passages were interesting, but a very poor percentage. Artwork fared better, though most of these 'visual lists' is more like 'a painting with a ridiculous amount of shit in it'. But following my precedent, I present a li... assortment of artworks that struck me.

It's hard not to be mesmerized by the detail in Altdorfer's Battle of Alexander at Issus [I've already mentioned another of Alexander's conquests]

If you prefer sea-battles to land, then you can go with Vicentino's Battle of Lepanto.

Tetar van Elven helpfully assembled this Imaginary View of the Main Monuments of Italy

This is only about half of Isabella of Parma's wedding. [Though I am glad I searched for (school of) van Meytens, because then I found this and this.]

These fish are strangely charming

There was a time when you were nobody if you didn't have a crocodile hot-glued to your ceiling.

One of these shelves doesn't belong.

Because I am an ignorant American, I had no idea one of the important events at the outset of the French Revolution happened in a tennis court.

I like Callot's Temptation of St. Anthony, since the temptation part is in a postage-stamp sized part of the canvas, while a giant flaming dragon-Satan looms over everything. I can't find the luridly colored painting, but this engraving gives you an idea.

They just don't make movies like this anymore.
Tags: art, book

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