Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mr. Saint

Seeking treasure in my purse upon Saint Patrick's Day this spring, Iris found this Kewpie Doll, which I had been keeping as a talisman of wonderful medieval possibilities.  She immediately named it Mr. Saint, in honor of the propitious day on which he was found, and the doll became the children's collective imaginary, not-so-imaginary friend.  He gets in total trouble. He wreaks havoc. He dies in unbelievable ways (his daily bath in dishwashing liquid in especially treacherous).  And he travels with us everywhere we go.  That this tiny Kewpie Doll has not been lost in a house where I can't find my giant batch of keys most mornings is a testament to how they love him, and amazing.  It made his sudden appearance (compliments of Oliver) in the first picture that I was taking of the Parthenon in Nashville a delight.  Which was only fitting because the Parthenon in Nashville is AWESOME!

Just look at it!  It's to scale and everything!!!  This will make Mac, who has a thing for scale, really happy (Mac, whose e-mail are telling tales of an entirely different scale).  Built for the 1897 Exposition hosted by Nashville for the purpose of housing the Fine Arts pavilion, it's the only monument they kept from the Exposition.  At the time, it was bedecked with light bulbs, which were the hot new things, and it shone brightly in the night in competition with the lit pyramid next to it.  The pediments are there, as are the metopes, but I'd love to know the decisions to not do the frieze - too many naked Athenians? Too dang difficult?

The 40'+ statue of Athena holding Nike, on the other hand, was a go!!!  Eleanor's the tiny little thing in a too-short dress from last summer (I now realize looking at the picture), while Athena towers above her.  Where the ancient Athenians used plates of ivory and gold on a wooden structure, modern Nashvillians used plaster and paint.  The effect is still tremendous and the steady stream of people coming up the stairs exclaiming their wonder was great to behold.  First, because there was a steady stream of people (this is not an abandoned building), and second, because it reminded me of the effect of the Sainte Chapelle and could prompt some musings about the universal affect of awe, and scale and size, and wonder in general.

But our beloved Donna awaits for a great day together, so I will just end with a delighted Iris having found a plaster cast of her namesake, Iris the goddess of the rainbow, from the west pediment. She was truly awed, my already plucky little girl, by the size and power of this goddess on the go.  In some ways, there is no less likely place for a first feminist moment (if that's what this rush to gladness in self-determination was), in others, what a great place to start!


  1. I love this, just love this! Nothing brilliant to say, but dang, I got to get there some day. So cool. And yay to the budding feminist!

  2. :-) it IS awesome! and they have nice temporary exhibits in the downstairs, as well as a cool "history of" exhibit. plus the gift shop is, ar-hum, swell. mostly, it just reminds me of all that i love learning about those World Expos. wisht they'd kept their light-up pyramid. Definitely worth the trip!