the idea of an idea

23/11/2010 § Leave a comment

albrecht durer, rhinoceros, 1515


“according to the british museum, the animal depicted was originally a gift from sultan muzafar II of gujurat, who presented it to ‘alfonso d’albuquerque, the governor of portuguese india’ in may 1515. the hapless beast subsequently drowned in a shipwreck on its way to visit pope leo x in rome. in the rhinoceros, an essay by eliot weinberger published in almost island, the animal ‘was a sensation. within two months, a doctor in florence published a paean to it, in twenty-one stanzas of ottava rima. the emperor maximilian had a rhinoceros drawn in the margin of his prayer book; raphael placed one in a fresco of the creation of the animals in the vatican. someone, it is not known who, sent a sketch of the animal to albrecht dürer in nuremberg, whose heavily armored version– dürer was a designer of armor– remained the standard image of the rhinoceros for centuries, though dürer never saw one.”

somethings never change.   i am currently writing about the menil collection by renzo piano, a building which i studied first and visited second.  there is always a nervous moment of wondering, “will it stand up to the pictures?”  makes one think, do bloggers really care about the building, or their image of building, and are these things really different?

next up, the kimbell.  something tells me the building stands up to the pictures.

for more on the rhinoceros and all things related to its representation consult the always wonderful things magazine.

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