The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a kooky little museum in Boston with some important art that’s scattered around a multi-story Mediterranean solarium. Its titular founder got her hands on some important pieces of European art and managed to keep it together.
The museum is a nice refuge on a cold day in Boston when you can wander around some palms, look up at the winter light and then see a European masterpiece.
The Gardner’s big moment for the year and the post-pandemic exhibition was going to be “Titian: Women, Myth & Power”. I’m not a fan of Titian, but for people who are into that sort of thing it was going to be a big event bringing together key paintings in a museum which is largely famous for starring in the most successful unsolved art theft in American history. (I’m surprised there hasn’t been a movie made about it.)
And the New York Times arts section had to take a Year Zero approach to it with a scolding article titled, “Can We Ever Look at Titian’s Paintings the Same Way”. (The art thieves apparently agreed because they left The Rape of Europa in place despite it being the most valuable painting at The Gardner.)
No, it’s not that Titian never tweeted in support of BLM, but the Greek myths he was working with have a #MeToo problem.
In finally speaking truth to power, the New York Times damns “the god Jupiter, a serial abuser”, which would be a valid point if he existed and if Greek myths were to be taken at face value and if the Times hadn’t spent a chunk of its modern life praising serial abusers like Harvey Weinstein, Bill Clinton, and Andrew Cuomo.
Titian understood the power of myth and the difference between myth and reality. As western civilization became more religious and less pagan, it stopped worshiping the embodiments of the id as demigods. And as it became more secular and more pagan, it began the process of manufacturing oversexed demigods with no self-control to worship all over again. That’s popular culture.
Year Zero involves a constant senseless deconstruction of the past with no self-awareness of the present. Virtue signaling is its own form of narcissism doubling as a phony religion.
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