Wednesday, July 18, 2018

CARAVAGGIO, SAINT OF ANTINOUS


ON JULY 18th the Religion of Antinous honors Saint Caravaggio.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, who died under suspicious circumstances on this day in 1610, was an extraordinary painter whose homoerotic images of young men have caused art historians to call him the first modern painter.

St. Caravaggio is the Patron of Gifted Bad Boys — Gay Boys who are blessed with incredible talents but who are too impatient and too rebellious to abide by the rules of society.

St. Caravaggio was always in trouble. In 1592, when he was not yet 20 years old, he fled Milan after a series of brawls and the wounding of a police officer. He went to Rome and was there, for the most part, until 1606, when he again had to flee. His life in Rome was of growing financial and professional success, but it was also punctuated with crime.

In the years 1600-1606 alone, he was brought to trial no less than eleven times. The charges covered a variety of offenses, most involved violence. It is significant that, despite his reputation for homosexuality, and his endless brushes with the police, he was never charged with sodomy, then a capital offense.

But he was charged with murder. On 29 May 1606 he killed one Tommasoni in a brawl after a disputed game of royal tennis, and had to flee to escape execution. He went first to Naples, then to Malta, where he was feted and made a Knight of St John.

Then, after "an ill considered quarrel" with a senior knight, he was on the run once more, all around Sicily, then on to Naples again.

But this time there was no hiding place. The knights, known for their relentlessness, pursued him, and Caravaggio, now 39 nine, in an attempt to seek forgiveness and refuge in Rome, tried to get there, but died at Porto Ercole, apparently of a fever, though the circumstances are highly suspicious.

Despite his hunted and, in the end, desperate life, he always managed to go on painting, often without a proper workshop of any kind. He was variously described, even by admirers, as a man of "stravaganze" as "uno cervello stravagantissimo" (exceptionally odd) and a "cervello stravolto".

His father died when he was six, his mother when he was 18, which may help to explain his anger at the world. His paintings show that he was a man of the most profound religious convictions, of a humble and contrite heart, and with a fanatical devotion to his art.

 His fundamental ideas were always absolutely clear, though he continually changed and improved his techniques. He believed in total realism, and he always painted from life, dragging poor people in from the street if need be.

He became a great realist by painting flowers and fruit, in a variety  of lights, sometimes pure still lifes, sometimes with street boys, such as the model for Bacchus (above).

To achieve realism, he liked to pull his subject out of surrounding darkness into strong lateral or overhead light, as close to the viewer  as possible.

This was a new kind of art, which was to have momentous consequences. It has led some modern writers to speculate that, born into the 20th or 21st Century, Caravaggio would have been a photographer or a filmmaker.

But that is nonsense. Caravaggio, it is clear, adored the feel and line of a brush on a slightly springy surface, prepared with grey (as a rule), and the sheer creative excitement of using the brush to bring the real world out of the darkness of the canvas.

For the first time in the history of art, Caravaggio eliminated the space between the event in the painting and the people looking at it. He created a kind of virtual reality to give you a feeling as though you are right there inside the painting.

Even we, whose vision and sense of reality has been blunted and distorted by television and the cinema, still get tremendous impressions of participating when we see his great canvases close up. What then must it have been like in the early seventeenth century, for people who had never come across anything approaching this blast of actuality, to be brought face-to-face with a reenactment of sacred events in two dimensions, such as St. Francis of Asisi in Ecstasy?

Artists were particularly struck, or perhaps shocked is a better word, but horribly stimulated too, and stirred to find out exactly how the man did it.

Caravaggio, despite all his difficulties, always finished each piece of work if he possibly could, then went directly on to another, with  fresh ideas and new experiments.


He was a Bad Boy. But he was a gifted genius. The Religion of Antinous honors this Patron of Gifted Bad Gay Boys as an exemplar and saint. Let us lift our glasses to St. Caravaggio.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

ANTINOUS ON VACATION IN ST. LOUIS
AT GODDIO'S SUNKEN CITIES EXHIBITION



ANTINOUS is spending his summer holidays in Saint Louis in the United States.

This statue of Antinous as a very pensive Osiris is from the Alexandria Museum and it is part of the SUNKEN CITIES: EGYPT'S LOST WORLDS exhibition at the Saint Louis Art Museum which runs 9 September 2018.

It is among some fabulous Egyptian monuments and treasures which Antinous himself may have seen ... but which were lost at the bottom of the sea for centuries.

This 2nd Century AD statue depicts Antinous in a Romanized-Egyptian style as a royal personage striding with his left foot forward ... as was the traditional depiction of Egyptian pharaohs and gods.

He is wearing the traditional dynastic kilt which gods and pharaohs were always shown as wearing.

In addition, he appears to have a Uraeus stylized spitting cobra as the centerpiece of his wig-like headdress.


One fist is visible, clinched in the ages-old symbol of divine power seen on countless statues of deities and pharaohs throughout the ages.

It is one of the most unusual statues depicting Antinous as Osiris. The workmanship is more Greco-Roman than Egyptian around the head and face ... but the body adheres to traditional Egyptian artistic style mandates.

He has a rather pensive expression on his face, as if he is gazing off into the far distance.

Originally, of course, the eye sockets would have had gemstone-and-ivory eyes, perhaps outlined with copper "eyeliner."

This splendid statue is part of the stunning exhibition currently on show in London which includes sunken treasures.

You have all heard of Franck Goddio, the French marine archeologist who made headlines in the 1990s with his discovery in the Bay of Alexandria of ruins and artefacts which appear to have come from royal palaces, temples and perhaps even the Pharos lighthouse.

It is intriguing to think that Antinous may have gazed on those treasures when he and Hadrian visited Egypt in 130 AD.

Since first discovering the Alexandria treasures, Monsieur Goddio has gone on to trawl the waters a few kilometres east of Alexandria in hopes of discovering the fabled "Lost Cities" of Canopus and HERAKLEION (Heracleion), which he succeeded in finding in 2000.

Goddio's exhibition of "Egypt's Sunken Treasures" has traveled the world.

Now, Goddio is back with even more artifacts retrieved from the bottom of the sea … at the ST. LOUIS ART MUSEUM.

It offers a rare public viewing of newly discovered Canopus-Herakleion treasures since the two cities vanished below the waves in a series of floods and earthquakes, finally disappearing completely in the late 7th Century AD.

By that time, Egyptian priests had retreated to Canopus-Herakleion and Muslims were sweeping across the land.

Thus the exhibition offers a sort of time capsule of the waning days of paganism when the "barbarians" literally stood at the gates.

There are many statues, mostly fragmentary ones minus heads and limbs ... and one (alleged) statue of Antinous with a facial expression of pensive introspection.

Monday, July 16, 2018

HADRIAN HONORED BY HIS FAVORITE CITY
IN NEW EXHIBITION IN ATHENS



HADRIAN loved all things Greek, especially Antinous.

Now the Athens National Archaeological Museum along with the Italian Archaeological School present "Hadrian and Athens, conversing with an Ideal World" now through November 2018 that marks 1,900 years since the Roman Emperor Hadrian began his reign in 117 AD.

All of the 40 exhibits featured come from the National Archaeological Museum's collections and gives visitors a unique opportunity to view exhibits that showcase Hadrian's philhellenism, highlighting his immense and enduring legacy.

Portraits and sculptures of the Emperor Hadrian are on display along with emblematic figures in Greek philosophical thought including, Plato and Aristoteles.

Hadrian decisively integrated Greek intelligence with Roman tradition forging a common cultural base that served as a fundamental element in western culture and creating a deep spiritual affinity between Hellenic and Roman culture. 

The exhibition is a testimony to Hadrian’s presence in Athens and the kindness and beneficence he showed its citizens.




Sunday, July 15, 2018

ANTINOUS SHOOTS HIS ARROWS
INTO YOUR HEART


THE PERSEID meteors streak across the heavens from mid-July to mid-August. Go outside on a clear night and you will see dozens of meteors.

They appear to originate in the Constellation of Antinous right in the middle of the July and August night sky — as though Antinous is shooting arrows at you.

The CONSTELLATION OF ANTINOUS is directly right overhead in mid-heaven at this time of year. Go outside about 10 p.m. when it is good and dark and look up. You will see the Milky Way bisecting the sky from north to south. Look for the "Summer Triangle" formed by the stars Vega, Deneb and Altair — they seem to straddle the brightest part of the Milky Way.

Altair is the head of Aquila the Eagle — and Antinous is directly under the Eagle. 

The PERSEIDS are a great opportunity for ANTINOUS STAR MAGIC. 

How you cast the wish is up to you. If you re a Druid, Wiccan or even just a lapsed Catholic, you know some simple rituals. You can write a wish on a piece of paper and then go outside and look up and, as you repeat the wish aloud while tearing up the piece of paper, a shooting star will catch your eye — and you hold the palm of your hand in front of your mouth and blow away the bits of paper.

The Shooting Star does the rest.

There are many, many other ways of working ANTINOUS STAR MAGIC. As always with such things, the "magic" is within your heart and soul. So there are no firm-and-fast rules ... it all depends on you. 



If you are an ARIES, you probably don't believe in such foolishness as "wishing on a star" — but you love to gamble, and so you'll make a wish. And when it comes true, you'll be all the happier.

If you are a TAURUS, you know precisely what you want to wish for, something you've wanted for a long, long time. A leatherette recliner, for example. You love the romance and beauty of a summer evening. You've brought along a lawn chair and a hamper full of food and drink. 

If you are a GEMINI, you will be out with friends and you will be talking, laughing or else texting and twittering so much that you may forget to look up and make a wish.

If you are a CANCER you will be overwhelmed by the sheer romantic beauty of it all. You love the cosy setting and being with close friends or family. When you look up, you will make a special wish upon a star in hopes of finding that certain someone. You may stop pouting about how that other special someone broke your heart.

If you are a LEO, you will be convinced that Antinous is indeed shooting these love arrows your way — just for your own personal benefit, of course! And you will make a very grand wish, and you can't wait to show off and brag when it comes true.

If you are a VIRGO, you don't believe in luck, only in thankless hard work, and so you doubt that any wishes ever come true. You are wary of lying back on the grass because you are worried that a tick might bite you and you would contract Lyme Disease. It would be just your luck — Besides, you know it's selfish to wish for things for yourself. And anyway, you think you don't deserve to have a wish come true. But you DO deserve it!

If you are a LIBRAN, you can't decide on just one wish. So you make two wishes (at least). You secretly know you deserve to have your wishes come true more than anybody else, but you are far too diplomatic and tactful ever to say so openly. Your wishes involve matters of love and grace and beauty. You publicly wish good luck to all the others and they all thank you and think you're so nice. Everyone thinks you're their friend and you encourage them in that. Of course, secretly you think they're all morons, and if their lame wishes come true and your lovely wish doesn't come true — then there's no justice in this world.

If you are a SCORPIO, then you will also wish for love — but skip the grace and beauty and get down to the hot and heavy. Something with gleaming black leather and chrome steel chains. That wish better come true, too. You demand obedience.

If you are a SAGITTARIUS, your wish comes true instantaneously — or perhaps has already come true before you actually made the wish. Sagittarians have a direct hotline to the stars, so you always get your wishes -- and don't mind letting others know about it, either.

If you are a CAPRICORN, you don't believe in such frivolous nonsense as wishing on a star. But you have a list of very practical things you would like to wish for. Good dividends on investments, for example. So there's no harm in making a wish. If it comes true, it was "coincidence".

If you are an AQUARIUS, you will be counting the shooting stars ("Wow, 60 in just one hour, that's one a minute!") and you will be estimating what speed they must be traveling to reach the burn-out temperature. You're indoors, of course, watching the spectacle on NASA's streaming video website. You wrote down a wish for a new iPhone on a slip of paper, but you forgot where you put it, maybe it's stuck to the cheese under the Domino's Pizza next to your keyboard. Who cares? There are so many shooting stars to count.

If you are a PISCES, you have made elaborate plans to position yourself on a hilltop where your friends the UFO space aliens will be sure to spot you in your glow-in-the-dark jump suit. Your wish is for the aliens to abduct you ... again.

Make a wish!

HERNESTUS  

Saturday, July 14, 2018

ROME'S TEMPLE OF DEIFIED HADRIAN
PUTS ON NIGHTLY LIGHT-AND-SOUND SHOW


THE Temple of Deified Hadrian is putting on a spectacular light show after sunset this summer for the benefit of tourists to Rome who flock to the sidewalk café at the Piazza di Pietra.

The Piazza is often called the living room of the Capitoline city, and it lives up to its name on evenings starting at 8:30 p.m., when a digital light show thrills spectators with a 12-minute multi-projection onto the Colonnade of the Temple of Hadrian tracing the history of the Emperor who deified his lover Antinous.

The play of light and sound promoted by the Chamber of Commerce and created by Paco Lanciano. The ancient structure now serves as the home of Rome's Stock Market.

The show debuted this week in the presence of Italy's Minister of Cultural Heritage Alberto Bonisoli, Rome's Mayor Virginia Raggi, the president of the Lazio Region, and the president of the Chamber of Commerce, Lorenzo Tagliavanti. 

Special guest Giancarlo Giannini recited a passage taken from the "Hadrian's Memoirs" by Marguerite Yourcenar.

The light-and-sound show will be repeated every evening about half an hour after sunset.

The Temple of Hadrian (Templum Divus Hadrianus, also Hadrianeum) was dedicated to the deified Emperor Hadrian on the Campus Martius in Rome by his adoptive son and successor Antoninus Pius in 145 AD. 

Long ago both ends of the temple, as well as the other side disappeared; all that remains are eleven fluted columns with Corinthian bases and capitals, as well as one side of the cella wall which was built into a nineteenth century palazzo that continues to house the Rome Borsa.

Overall, the temple was presumed to have been octastyle, elevated on a typical Roman high podium, peripteral in style and likely approached by stairs covering the eastern end with a deep pronaos of three bays. During Hadrian's reign, the peripteral style of temple came briefly back into fashion at Rome, and was also used in the Temple of Venus and Roma.








Friday, July 13, 2018

'THE LOVE GOD' BY MARTIN CAMPBELL
IS A BRILLIANT NOVEL ABOUT ANTINOUS


THE most brilliant novel about Antinous to appear in over half a century ... THE LOVE GOD ... is authored by our own MARTINUS CAMPBELL, priest of Antinous.

While that sounds like biased praise, we Antinomaniacs are hard to please and would not hesitate to pick apart a poorly researched book or one that denigrated Antinous, even if it were written by one of our best friends ... perhaps especially if it were. 

At the same time, a sycophantic book that presented Antinous as being cloyingly sweet and angelic would be unbearable and not believable.

So we are gratified (and greatly relieved) to report that this book truly is a remarkable work of historical fiction right up there with Marguerite Yourcenar's landmark MEMOIRS OF HADRIAN 60 years ago.

Martin traces the life of Antinous from the moment his tousle-haired head emerges from his mother's womb under auspicious stars in Asia Minor to the moment his head sinks beneath the swirling waters of the Nile on a starry evening in Egypt.

Antinous comes to life as a young man of breath-taking beauty who is filled with conflicting passions and loyalties. He is a young man who at times is naive, yet at other times worldly wise with an ability to see the world as it is ... and to describe it with at times brutal honesty to the most powerful man in the world.

Above all, this is a gentle love story between Antinous and Emperor Hadrian, himself a man of contradictory passions and priorities.

Martin himself is a man shares these passions. He has rebounded from a series of debilitating strokes to resume a daunting array of political activism for LGBTIU health and rights issues ... while working on this novel.

Based in a hilltop home overlooking the sea in Brighton England, he spent the best part of a decade researching this novel, retracing the footsteps of Antinous across Greece and Italy, as far north as Hadrian's Wall and as far south as the Nile in Upper Egypt.

Historical facts are excruciatingly accurate ... even the positions of the stars and planets at the moment of the birth of Antinous have been calculated to precision.

An academic scholar can read this book with satisfaction, noting obscure and arcane references which only the experts in the field of Antinology fully appreciate.

At the same time, however, this is a fun book to read even for those who have never heard of Antinous in their lives and who have no firm grasp of Roman civilization in the 2nd Century AD.

There is intrigue, skulduggery, near-death by lightning, getting lost in a subterranean labyrinth, a storm at sea, earthquakes ... and some fairly hot man sex as well, albeit tastefully brought to the page.

The narrator is the Classical Love God himself: Eros. He shoots his amorous arrows and ensures that Antinous and Hadrian fulfill the destiny which the Fates have in store for them ... despite efforts by certain people in the Imperial Court to thwart the Fates.

But the genius of this book is that there are no black-and-white villains or heroes. Antinous is a young man with all the problems and drives of late adolescence. Hadrian is a man with a mid-life crisis of doubt and regret.

Others such as Empress Sabina and her constant companion Julia Balbilla and their coterie of fawning courtiers and freedmen are not really hateful towards Antinous so much as they are simply perplexed by him. 

They view him the way some members of the Royal Household might look at the favorite Corgi of the Queen, unable to comprehend her affection for it, her grief when it dies.

They whisper amongst themselves: What hold does Antinous have over Hadrian? 

Just who does he think he is? And is he a threat to them? 

What is so different about Antinous that Hadrian doesn't grow weary of him ... as he always has with previous toy boys? 

Because they cannot understand how he fits in the scheme of Imperial court life, some really rather wish he would just disappear ... voluntarily or otherwise. 

And through it all is the boyhood friend of Antinous who has accompanied him on this long journey with mixed feelings and with growing envy and jealousy. 

The boiling emotions all stem from Eros, who winks knowingly at the reader as he shoots one arrow after another with unerring accuracy to ensure that Antinous fulfills his destiny ... to take his place alongside Eros as a God of Love.

The result is a richly entertaining and beautifully written novel which appeals to those seeking authoritative scholarly accuracy as well as readers who just want a riveting and memorable adventure yarn.

The Love God is available as Kindle and as a paperback ... CLICK HERE to order.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

WEAR A WREATH OF FLOWERS
DURING THE LUDI APOLLINARES



FROM the 5th to 13th of July is the Ludi Apollinares, a Roman festival in honour of Apollo. This was celebrated with horse racing and theatre plays. Livy writes: "The people took part in them wearing wreaths of flowers. The doors to the houses were opened, meals eaten in the open." So a picnic outside today would make a lovely way to celebrate. Photo art by Keith MezaenAset Hoberg.

05-13 de julho é o Ludi Apollinares , um festival romano em honra de Apollo . Este foi celebrado com corridas de cavalos e peças de teatro . Livy escreve: " As pessoas participaram neles vestindo coroas de flores As portas para as casas foram abertas , refeições consumidas no aberto. ". Assim, um piquenique fora hoje faria uma maneira bonita de comemorar . arte da foto por Keith MezaenAset Hoberg .

5-13to de julio es el Ludi Apollinares , un festival romano en honor de Apolo. Este fue celebrado con las carreras de caballos y obras de teatro . Livio escribe: " Las personas que participaron en ellos con coronas de flores Las puertas de las casas se abrieron , comidas comidas al aire libre. ". Por lo que un picnic fuera hoy haría una bonita manera de celebrar. Foto del arte de Keith MezaenAset Hoberg .