theology, intellectualism, and morality, oh my!

So last night I was watching Pawn Stars  with the fam and someone brought into Rick this Albrecht Dürer etching print, Knight, Death, and the Devil. My interest was piqued. I remember reading a bit about him in undergrad art history but I was 19 and hadn’t yet realized the entertainment value of  historical connections. I definitely don’t know my 16th C. art history.

Apparently,  Knight, Death, and the Devil is thought to represent psalm 23. and you all know what that means, Albrecht Dürer is connected through that bible verse to both Coolio and Weird Al Yankovic!

The Met site says this image was part of a trilogy including Melancholia 1 and St. Jerome in His Study, each representing “three kinds of virtue in medieval scholasticism—theological, intellectual, and moral.” I was thinking about how in America today it seems the theology branch is beating the intellectual branch with the morality branch. Now there’s an social illustration the making, threadless much??!!

So then I looked up Dürer in my college Art History text book and it talks about Melancholia I in depth, about the depiction of the artists fruitless introspection, and the beginning of showing characters with forlorned faces in  art (My teen self wrote in the margin, “pose like Jeremiah or Raphael’s Michelangelo” which I decoded to mean Michaelangelo’s Jeremiah in which Jeremiah is shown “Lamenting the fall of Jeruselum” and Raphaels Heraclitus in The School of Athens, who wikipedia says “He regarded himself as self-taught and a pioneer of wisdom. From the lonely life he led, and still more from the riddling nature of his philosophy and his contempt for humankind in general, he was called “The Obscure” and the “Weeping Philosopher”)  My book says that Dürer “seems to be making a visual play on the contrasting mental states of black melancholy and the light of inspiration.” The book doesn’t mention Melancholia’s  place in the 3 part series, but clearly this represents the plague of intellectualism.

On Pawn Stars, Rick bought the 17th century print of Knight, Death, and the Devil for $5,500 and probably got 10 times his money back when he sold it!

The show said the most important one, one of the first few pulls-from the 1500’s, sold for 350,000. I wonder if that’s the one The Met bought.

So, I haven’t left my parents house in days…  I guess I can find things to art blog about pretty much anywhere…

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