It isn’t an original thought to believe that New Spain was built upon a foundation of stolen gold; the Spanish lust for what the Aztecs called teocuitlatl is infamous. What is perhaps less known is the Aztec belief that gold was the excrement of the gods; although of value, gold paled next to the luster of jade and the sparkle of the quetzal feather. That said, what was wrought by the Aztecs was of such wonder that the great Albrecht Dürer (the son of a goldsmith) exclaimed upon seeing the golden booty:
“Also I saw the things which were brought to the King from the New Golden Land: a sun entirely of gold, a whole fathom broad; likewise, a golden moon, entirely of silver, just as big ;likewise, sundry curiosities from their weapons, armor, and missiles; very odd clothing, bedding, and all sorts of strange articles for human use, all of which is fairer to see than marvels. These things were all so precious that they were valued at a hundred thousand guilders. But I have never seen in all my days that which so rejoiced my heart, as these things. For I saw among them amazing artistic objects, and I marveled over the subtle ingenuity of the men in these distant lands. Indeed I cannot say enough about the things which were there before me.” (source:Mary Ellen Miller’s The Art of Mesoamerica).
Alas these “artistic objects” that so thoroughly enchanted Dürer were melted down for the crass value of their base metal.
With that in mind I present “G” is for Gold; the acclaimed metalwork rendered in my own particular Babylonian Baroque style.
My figure of the enthroned Motecuhzoma II was based upon a sketch from a recent life drawing session. The young model was particularly louche , this suggestive pose seemed appropriate for the last Emperor of Tenochtitlan. But upon completion I realized with the addition of an obviously camp head-dress the emperor now had a closer affinity to Henry Cyril Paget, the 5th Marquess of Anglesey (the notorious “Dancing Marquess”) than a noble King.
I am now back home from a far too brief holiday, busily catching up, posts to follow.
Until that time,
9 thoughts on ““G”is for Gold”
haha! the poor man looks so bored! 😀 i love the comparison to the dancing marquess, as well–what a fabulous pair of images 😀
the urn/vase/head wrapped in snake at right bottom is fascinating. your primer is really rocking!
I was looking for aristocratic ennui, so I guess I got it (:
I love coming up with decorative elements such as urns, 20 years as a decorative painter had some benefit I suppose.
If the primer is rocking, it is a long slow daunting rock! Thanks for the encouragement.
How do you know all this amazing stuff, Leonard?! :~) Glad the holiday was good, and good to see you back on track so quickly!
you are kind, I know bits and pieces of trivia, essentially I am a dilettante (:
You, my dear Leonard, are on a roll!
The 5th Marquess of Anglesey. Mmmm, Well THAT all ended badly!
I’m trying to get back on a roll!
And yes, the poor Marquess did end badly, but he died young and lovely so that i suppose isn’t such a bad thing (:
Camp is all about context, so I wouldn’t worry to much about the headdress. I really like this piece!
I agree, In struggle with taste, camp, etc. I love a great variety of things, some properly tasteful, others…less so. I assume you have Philip Core’s Camp, the Lie That Tells The Truth, I find it indispensable . It has provided a great deal of clarity.
I’m happy you like “G”, more to come!
That book was one of my bibles! Unfortunately it is no longer in my possession, but a highly developed camp sensibility certainly is!