Get ready.  The Saturnalian is about to be Trumped!

September 10, 2018 


Grant Wood: Parson Weems’ Fable (1939)

Oil on canvas – Amon Carter Museum of American Art

American Gothic painter Grant Wood created this work in celebration of historian Parson Weems and first President George Washington.  Weems’ 1800 work Life of Washington first told the anecdote of the six-year-old future President hatcheting down his father’s favorite cherry tree and then owning up to it.  Weems reported the story “too valuable to be lost, and too true to be doubted,” was told to him by a relative of Washington, allegedly present when the event took place. Continue reading

William-Adolphe Bouguereau: The Youth of Bacchus (1884)

Oil on canvas – Private collection

French artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau painted in the academic style prevalent in the late 19th century.   He specialized in painting female nudes as present in The Youth of Bacchus.  The painting shows Bacchus (Greek Dionysus), the Roman God of wine, music, and dance, in a celebratory scene.  It captures Bacchus’s ability to free people from the restraints imposed by social norms and powerful institutions; much like the effect from the spirit of Saturnalia.  This painting may reflect how Ancient Romans observed Saturnalia.