Posts Tagged ‘history’

La Figura Serpentina

November 27th, 2010

Below are photographs of aspects of the impressive sculpture which dates from 1582 and known as the “Rape of the Sabine Women”. It was sculpted by the Flemish artist Jean de Boulogne, better known by his Italianized name Giambologna.

This sculpture can be found in Florence, Italy, where, since 1583AD it has been sitting in the Loggia dei Lanzi. The Loggia sits on a corner of the Piazza della Signoria and by the Palazzo Vecchio.

For this work, Giambologna’s masterpiece, he wanted to create a composition in the form of a serpentine spiral – making it the first sculpture in European history which could be viewed from all sides with no dominant viewpoint (by comparison, take Michelangelo’s David, which dates from some 80 years earlier). This stunning piece also has another distinction: it was made from one imperfect block of white marble which is the largest block ever transported to Florence.

Later, when the Medicis decided it should be exhibited in the Loggia, it was given the name the Rape of the Sabine Women after the mythical story of the founding years of Rome, where Roman men abducted women of the Sabine peoples to take as wives. Here the English word “rape” is a translation of the Latin word “raptio”, which in this context means abduction rather than its modern meaning. For more info on that section of the legendary history of Rome which gave its name to the sculpture, click here.

On another note, check out the following:

More coming soon!

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Bab Sharqi

June 29th, 2010

I had the chance to travel by car from Beirut to Damascus, Syria to spend a half-day there.

Despite all I’d heard about the beauty of the city, I remained unprepared for how extraordinary it truly is, and more so for the friendliness and kindness of those of its inhabitants whom I had the chance to meet. I’ll be sharing here some of the pictures I took in the few short hours I spent there.

The city of Damascus has 7 ancient gates, the oldest of which dates back to time of the Romans. Due to the limited time I had, I unfortunately only managed to visit 3 of the gates (and -silly me – took pictures of just 2).

This is Bab Sharqi (or Eastern Gate), which apparently is the only one to retain it’s Roman plan.

During the era of the Rashidun Caliphate, the great Arab military commander Khalid ibn al-Walid, who was known as “Sayf’ Ullah al-Maslul” (The Drawn Sword of God), entered Damascus through this gate after his conquest of the city on 18 September 634, at the end of a 30-day siege.

More coming soon!

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