Saturday, October 22, 2011

Titian, "The Flaying of Marsyas" (1575)

The Fate of Marsyas

Scarce had the man this famous story told,
Of vengeance on the Lycians shown of old,
When strait another pictures to their view
The Satyr's fate, whom angry Phoebus slew;
Who, rais'd with high conceit, and puff'd with pride,
At his own pipe the skilful God defy'd.
Why do you tear me from my self, he cries?
Ah cruel! must my skin be made the prize?
This for a silly pipe? he roaring said,
Mean-while the skin from off his limbs was flay'd.
All bare, and raw, one large continu'd wound,
With streams of blood his body bath'd the ground.
The blueish veins their trembling pulse disclos'd,
The stringy nerves lay naked, and expos'd;
His guts appear'd, distinctly each express'd,
With ev'ry shining fibre of his breast.

The Fauns, and Silvans, with the Nymphs that rove
Among the Satyrs in the shady grove;
Olympus, known of old, and ev'ry swain
That fed, or flock, or herd upon the plain,
Bewail'd the loss; and with their tears that flow'd,
A kindly moisture on the earth bestow'd;
That soon, conjoyn'd, and in a body rang'd,
Sprung from the ground, to limpid water chang'd;
Which, down thro' Phrygia's rocks, a mighty stream,
Comes tumbling to the sea, and Marsya is its name.
-Ovid, "Metamorphoses" (Dryden translation)

7 comments:

Elmers Brother said...

Bartholomew the disciple is said to have been flayed.

-FJ said...

I intended to evoke an image of "hollowing out". Now let me Google Bartholomew...

-FJ said...

from Wiki...he is one of the apostles of whom no word is reported nor any individual action recorded in the New Testament

Flayed alive?

Speedy G said...

from the Wiki article on Michelangelo's "Last Judgement"...

Some have hypothesized that Michelangelo depicted himself in the flayed skin of St. Bartholomew based on feelings of contempt Michelangelo may have had for being commissioned to paint "The Last Judgment." While his idea gained popular support, the greater art historical community has consistently refuted this theory. Michelangelo often drew himself in a way where he had lost all his power and might. He questioned over thoughts of dying and the Day of Judgement, which is seen as a reference to this work. Michelangelo was in his late sixties when he finished this painting and it's considered the peeling of Bartholomew is also the peeling of the flesh awaiting a new rebirth. [3] The figure of St. Bartholomew was also theorized to depict the satirist and erotic writer Pietro Aretino, who had tried to extort a valuable drawing from Michelangelo; this theory has largely been refuted because the conflict between Michelangelo and Aretino did not occur until 1545, seven years after the fresco's completion.

Speedy G said...

Something reduced to "form", the "limit" of colour. Pure Apollo sans Dionysius.

Speedy G said...

All Spirit... w/o the Father and Son.

Elmers Brother said...

e is said to have been martyred in Albanopolis in Armenia. According to one account, he was beheaded, but a more popular tradition holds that he was flayed alive and crucified, head downward. He is said to have converted Polymius, the king of Armenia, to Christianity. Astyages, Polymius' brother, consequently ordered Bartholemew's execution. [8

A little farther down