09 July 2010

I've received confirmation from Dresden that Augustus II purchased Sleeping Venus in 1699, though the provenance is sketchy before that. It seems reasonable to assume the painting stayed in the Casa Marcello before then, during Velasquez' visits, since it had been a prized possession. Sleeping Venus was the first of many paintings acquired by Augustus, a Venice enthusiast who perhaps wanted in on his namesake's claims to divine right, as Caesar Augustus' stepdad (but nonetheless blood relation) said: “The family of my aunt Julia is descended by her mother from the kings, and on her father's side is akin to the immortal Gods; for the Marcii Reges (her mother's family name) go back to Ancus Marcius, and the Julii, the family of which ours is a branch, to Venus. Our stock therefore has at once the sanctity of kings, whose power is supreme among mortal men, and the claim to reverence which attaches to the Gods, who hold sway over kings themselves."

I had a blackout here last night for about 3-4 hours, despite very little rain to alleviate a local drought, a branch fell down right in front of here. I went to Barnes and Noble for a/c, electric light, and all that good stuff. Last time I was there they had Toscano's Collapsable Poetics Theater, and one or two other cool things, but it was more BNey this time. No one told me there was a Library of America edition of early Ashbery! A sight to behold. I believe it was intentional that the blue ribbon placemarker is placed right at Joe Brainard's toilet in Vermont Notebook. It's actually cool to see Vermont Notebook in such a volume, the legit cover making it funnier, but it's odd to see Three Poems in there, sort of like it's become a 19th Century novella that comes in a 1200 page anthology for a survey course. Nothing else really fits in that thing. If I were a lot older that edition would make me feel old. I could say about other books there, this is workshoppy, that is workshoppy, after having skimmed them, but you already get that I think that way and the allegation would not surprise anyone about the poets in question. Finally it seems to be really raining here!

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