Friday, October 26, 2012
A Macabre View of Paris Part Four
Right away, as you enter the Pantheon, you'll be treated to this larger than life mural of the patron Saint of Paris--Saint Denis. As we've mentioned in earlier posts, after his martyrdom, he is said to have picked up his head and walked with it, preaching the gospel for ten miles before finally dying.
You can't keep a good man down.
Here we see two figures helping a third, drunken figure. Their Latin headbands are translated as (left to right) Ingratitude, Ignorance, Avarice/Greed.
Finally, we get this great shot, which is not a a scene from the latest Scarlett Johansson tough girl action flick. It is, in fact, from Jacques-Louis David's 1799 oil painting The Intervention of the Sabine Women, which is in fact a far more moving story than a Hollywood action movie would be. The Romans, denied a chance to marry women from the Sabine tribe, attack the Sabines at a festival in order to steal away the women. In order to prevent further bloodshed, the women intervene, offering themselves as a sort of living sacrifice. Of interest here is the woman in yellow holding up her baby, which I imagine is her way of attempting to keep it out of the melee all around her. Even more moving is the old woman, in the center, just beginning to bare her breast in a sacrificial gesture. And of course, what parent cannot be moved by the little pile of babies endangered by the warring men as the women hover over them in an attempt to protect them?