Enter the Mouseion Top Image Contest!
The ancient Greeks
excelled in literature as well as fine arts which confront it. Therefore, they could
express fine arts by literature, and literature by fine arts. As a result, they
succeeded in expressing fine arts under literary symbol.
abstracted and combined beauty with more advanced divine symbol. By this
combination, the human reason came to know the mystic true nature of beauty through
symbol's infinite eloquence in expression of the meaning. As well known, this divine
symbol is represented as Muses, nine goddesses. And Apollo as one male god who
unifies the goddess is arranged with them.
Apollo and nine
Muses accurately embody the whole essence and part of the phenomenon of beauty,
but none of them relates with architecture, sculpture, and picture all of which
represent spatial art. However it is clear that these arts have a close connection
with beauty and there is no reason for their being separated from divine
symbol. I suppose that such a result may be brought about by the Greeks'
partiality for literary symbol, which accounts for Greeks' lack of sufficient
self-recognition on their aesthetic abilities.
However, this flaw
of understanding on beauty's phenomenon is immediately retrieved in the aspect
of practice. Mouseion, the house of Muses, was founded in Aristotle's Lyceum, and
Demetrius who was his pupil later reproduced it in Alexandria in Egypt. In the
Roman times, it became the place that displays pictures and sculptures. Today, as
well known, museum which derives from the name of Muses exhibits pictures
For the project to
revive ancient Mouseion of Alexandria, there is nothing else as suitable as
Apollo and nine Muses' image to articulate it. Because our Mouseion never
limits its activity to the introduction of spatial art, it is not a decisive
fault for us that Muses in ancient Greece does not represent it. Therefore, we
decided to put up Apollo and nine Muses' image on the opening part of our site.
And then, this
image indicates the everlasting universal essence of beauty along with human history,
and moreover symbolizes the overall business activities of Mouseion. It can
show the mind of Mouseion in a moment without a lot of words. We give an
outline of the image below. (This outline is only a standard; deviation is
permitted to some extent unless it spoils the aim of the image.)
Apollo and Muses should appear in the frame of composition comprised of three equilateral triangles, at each bottom side of which, three Muses are to be arranged. Every three Muses, in a pair, must strike a coordinated pose. This is in line with the composition of "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci.
The traits of Muses are as follows: in the
right triangle from bottom to top, Calliope (epic), Clio (history), Urania (astronomy);
in the central triangle from left to right, Erato (lyric), Melpomene (tragedy),
Thalia (comedy); in the left triangle from bottom to top, Polyhymnia (paean),
Terpsichore (chorus and dance), Euterpe (music).
composition, the masculine are arranged on the right and the feminine on the left.
Therefore, goddess manages a masculine role, the learning or the epic, are placed
on the right side, and ones with a feminine role, the music and the skills belong
to it, on the left side. The drama and the lyric are placed at the center as androgyny.
From bottom to top
in the right, the world expands gradually as hero ⇒ time ⇒ universe. From
right to left in the center, the view gets limited from society to individual. From
bottom to top in the left, the mind sinks from outside to inside.
The epic goddess Calliope
has a sword in her hand and is clad in helmet and armor. The history goddess
Clio holds a thick old book. The astronomy goddess Urania has a celestial globe.
The empty hands of these three goddesses should be close to each other as much
as possible so that they are united.
Erato, Melpomene, Thalia at the center, each of them has an apple, and one's hand is touching another's shoulder; this composition is in line with Raffaello's "The Three Graces". These three central goddesses should be rendered as the individual existence as well as trinity.
Polyhymnia on the left
side takes modestly kneeling posture and looks up Apollo. Terpsichore raises
one hand and one leg, striking a lively dancing pose. Euterpe has a pipe like
flute and makes a blowing gesture. These three goddesses of the left side should
be placed apart from each other to represent their individuality and independence.
Apollo is arranged
on the point where three triangles enclosing goddesses converge. Apollo turns to
left side and suggests that he strongly looks for the feminine. Then, three masculine
goddesses of the right turn to the same direction as Apollo; three neuter
goddesses of the center turn to front; and three goddesses of the left side
gaze at Apollo.
It is desirable that figure of Apollo is associated with sculpture "David" of Michelangelo, because it will condense the intentions of three great masters of the Renaissance into the symbol of Mouseion.
Then, a flower of
hyacinth is to be arranged to the right, and an olive tree to the left side of Apollo.
These indicate a boy and a girl who had come to a tragic end because of being
loved by him.
before, around the body part of Apollo and Muses, an atmosphere of the
Renaissance should be created. The reason is that the Renaissance style is
often regarded as the eternal aspect of beauty in spite that it is one of the
styles in a specific period. Meanwhile, in the setting part, the Renaissance style
must be excluded thoroughly to prevent the image from being fully limited to
the specific times, Italy in the 16th century.
In the setting part, it is necessary that straight lines and curves are used to the full and that plane and depth are mixed as far as possible in order to represent the atmosphere which rises above a specific times and impresses all times. In this sense, since pictures like Raffaello's or Anton Raphael Mengs' or Nicolas Poussin's "Parnasus" and Paul Klee's "Ad Parnassum" are bound by a style of specific times, it is not desirable for our image. Moreover, the setting part should suggest the space of dome of Pantheon of ancient Rome, apsis in the temple of the Byzantine architecture, vault in the court chapel of Charlemagne in Aachen and a plafond of the baroque times.
While wearing such a tegument of cultural inheritance of the past,
the image as a whole, must be full of near-futuristic impression. The cosmic
expanse must be also sensed. In this way, general survey and transcendence
of the history are both demonstrated to the people.
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