Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Early 14th Century ironic art: the Lamb of God
You might not think of the early Medieval period as being a hotbed of Irony. You would be wrong. The French nobility all learned Greek and it is not possible to learn Greek without becoming well versed in irony. The word itself mean "to dissemble." A later Medieval Greek scholar, Machievalli, wrote the definitive handbook on political dissembling; "The Prince."
The Coin/Artwork above was created by Philip IV of France, a Greek scholar in his own right, and a master of Irony. He was the most powerful ruler in Europe at the time, and to prove it he moved the Papacy from Rome to Avignon, where he became, in effect, the Father to the Holy Father. He then issued this coin, wherein he is depicted at the Lamb of God: the Humble Servant of Christ, The irony is that everybody in all of Europe understood that this humble Lamb was in fact an all powerful Tyrant, with life and death power over the Pope, and all Christians.
Ironic, no? And historically important. And at $20,000 you could buy 3500 of them for the price of one "Balloon Dog." (see the last post.) Oh, but 3500 don't exist. In fact this example is one of two that have appeared on the market in the last 10 years. Another might not appear for another decade. Better save up for the thousands and thousands of Balloon Dogs that will be available over the next ten years.