ANTINOUS: THE FACE OF THE ANTIQUE
SYNCHRONICITY works in wondrous ways. The previous blog entry about the WELL OF CASTALIA was posted just as a limited-edition Antinous art catalogue came up for auction on eBay.
The book is ANTINOUS: THE FACE OF THE ANTIQUE by Caroline Vout and it features the famous photo of the discovery in Greece in the 19th Century of the splendrous ANTINOUS DELPHI statue.
Some of you may remember the big exhibition of art and sculpture exclusively devoted to the image of Antinous in 2006 at the HENRY MOORE INSTITUTE in Leeds, England. Scattered around the world as we are, very few of us Antinomaniacs were able to go to the exhibit, which only ran for a couple of months.
The exhibition catalogue won a prestigious award but had only a limited print run and is already remaindered. So Antinophiles are always glad to see it pop up on eBay or at second-hand specialty book outlets.
It's a lovely book, though rather pricey. But like so many art books about Hadrian and Antinous, its value will only increase in coming years due to its rarity. If you can find it, you ought to latch onto it because you won't see it again — or if you do some day find it again, it will cost even more.
It's worth the price just to get your hands on the cover photo (top of page) showing the discovery of the Delphi Antinous. It is a magical photo, an excellent composition — the white gleaming god standing out among men.
At Delphi, the temple priests seem to have commissioned one of the earliest life-size sculptures of Antinous, and perhaps erected a small shrine for his worship.
Emperor Hadrian himself was probably was the donor of this statue of his beloved Antinous.
The Delphi Antinous was found in July 1893 during the excavations done by the archaeologist Théophile Homolle and the École Française d'Athènes, close the temple of Apollo, and it was discovered still standing upright as seen in this photo taken as the statue was being uearthed.
The statue, lovingly polished for centuries, was, in some Barbarian incursion, toppled over, loosing both arms, Afterwards, however, it was gently raised and re-erected without its arms in another chapel further up the sacred way.
Sometime later, some followers of Antinous lovingly buried the statue, standing upright, to preserve it from being completely destroyed by Christian iconoclasts, after Theodosius I in 380 declared Christianity the only legitimate imperial religion and fostered the destruction of the Temple of Apollo of Delphi.
The site was completely destroyed by zealous Christians in an attempt to remove all traces of Paganism — and of the Religion of Antinous, the last of the Classical Gods.
The Delphi Antinous is a cult statue of Antinous as the divine ephebe, sculpted in Parian marble during the reign of Hadrian. The head of the Antinous at Delphi wears such a crown of intertwined vegetal stems, but the leaves are missing, they were probably done in metal and then fixed to the holes drilled into the wreath.
The artist's statuary prototype for this Antinous is the youthful Apollo (and Dionysos) type, used repeatedly in times of Hadrian, for instance, in the Vatican's figure known as the "Centocelle Adonis," a statue probably depicting Apollo.
Isn't it poignant how the men in the photo are all slightly blurred and out of focus while Antinous is sharply outlined against the dark hole of time.
All those men have vanished, as have their sons and their sons' sons ... while Antinous still stands upright ... and gazes upon His followers in beauty and dignity ... timeless ... immortal ....