Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lost Skills

In the pictures below are some Roman artifacts from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. There is a certain energy and intellectually stimulating liveliness in these fragments, be it the tormented expression of a Herakles, the flow of the robe and subtly inviting body language of a decapitated statue, the introspective gaze of the Emperor Caligula, the innocent pose of an aristocratic youth, the beautiful anatomy of a Centaur's torso, ....

There is an almost surreal beauty to a lot of these sculpture fragments that survived total destruction at the fall of the Roman Empire. One can only wonder how much and what we are missing.

The artists of the Roman Empire had developed unsurpassed skills, borrowed from the Greeks and adding to what they learned from them, leaving what must have been an enormously rich legacy, until Christianity made an end to it, blatantly destroyed whatever it could, and plunged us in the Dark Ages. Until our time, we haven't recovered yet.

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