When Silenus’ Donkey Brayed

When Silenus’ Donkey Brayed

When Alfonso d’Este, the Duke to Ferrara and his wife Lucrezia Borgia, asked for a painting expressing worldly delights, drinking, and sensuality, Giovanni Bellini complied. Now ending a successful career as a painter of Madonnas, saints, popes, here he is...
Welty’s “Asphodel”

Welty’s “Asphodel”

Asphodel is the wild flower the Greeks associated with Hades, the underworld. Eudora Welty’s “Asphodel” (1942) is a story about an Ante-Bellum mansion ruined by fire that was a living Hell for the “outraged” Miss Sabina, unhappy wife of the “profane” Mr. Don McInnis....
Dürer’s Picnic at the Crossroads

Dürer’s Picnic at the Crossroads

Xenophon’s Memorabilia of Socrates (371BCE) tells that when Hercules was approaching manhood, he was given a choice of a life of pleasure or life of virtue. While sitting at a crossroad and considering his future, he is approached by two immortal women, Virtue, in a...
Piero’s Lapiths and Centaurs

Piero’s Lapiths and Centaurs

Giorgio Vasari’s assessment of Piero di Cosimo in Lives of the Painters (1550/68) is a mixed bag. Of his art, Vasari is complimentary but that as a man Vasari says that he was difficult, reclusive, and gloomy, so that “as he discoursed, he would twist everything to...