Posted by pancho (188.8.131.52) on November 10, 2001 at 17:46:28:
I found out that Homer Simpson, at the AUA library, Foundation and Museum was the one who said the portraits I made of ten Assyrian Kings were historically inaccurate because they all had my face. Apparently they were asked to loan a few for a display on Mesopotamian cultures at a certain university in Chicago, asked by Assyrians there…and refused on that basis. I suppose this means the portrait of Shumirum as well. I was told a few days ago that they relented and allowed the sculptures to be used…inspite of the fact that they all look like me.
What a funny expert that Simpson guy is. The first I heard that he was an expert on Assyrian art and culture was when he was awarded for just that by the AAS of Australia. I don’t know what constitutes an expert among us…two legs probably…and I know it gets harder each year to find two legged Assyrians who walk upright. Homer Simpson is no expert in anything…except in posing as one, if he can be assured you know even less than he does. That he would pick such a patently absurd reason to deny the showcasing of the only bronze portraits anywhere in the world of Assyrian kings speaks volumes in itself. If you placed all ten portraits, plus the heads of Ashurbanipal and Shumirum together, and managed to learn the names of each…on any future viewing you’d be hard pressed not to be able to tell one from the other, and not to be able to distinguish each from my gorgeous puss. This is supposed to be another way to slam my ability and character within the community. I mean there isn’t much you could legitimately accuse me of…I haven’t ripped anyone off, I certainly didn’t overcharge…I did have the temerity to sue the guy who DID try to rip me off, and though I wish to hell I had taken him to court, still he did settle in order to avoid the public humiliation he so richly deserved…the one he’s gonna get this time. So, if you wanted to say that I had been dishonest or foolish, or just plain wrongheaded, you’d say the portraits were historically inaccurate…and what reason could you give EXCEPT that I did something so absurd…absurd to claim that is…as make all of them look like my own face.
In truth you couldn’t tell Tiglath Pilessar from Ashurhaddon from Sargon if you didn’t have some way of dating the actual bas relief portraits, or had some other clue…for they do indeed all look pretty much alike. Either one of them looked like that and the artists of that day made all the rest look like that one…or they all really did look alike. I suppose I could have chosen one face…Homer’s say…and done as the ancients did by making all the kings look like Homer. In that case I doubt he would have complained. I didn’t use any models, just made each one as he “could” have looked…if you get my meaning, and who cares if you don’t.
What makes all of this deliciously ironic and oh so true to character, for us all and not just expert Homer…is that the one other time he expressed his educated opinion he was as off base as he was this time. That would be when he counseled Helen that my first portrait, the one of Sargon the Great, was totally wrong…probably said “historically inaccurate”…when it was really hysterically typical of him to say such a thing. What he was trying to do of course was discourage her from trusting my judgment so she would not move ahead with the commission she’d given me to make ten portraits at a price far beyond what Homer was being paid by her, or ever saw in his life. It almost worked too, till I agreed to cut the set of double horns from off of Sargon’s helmet. It was not a shinning moment for yours trooly, but I had my reasons.
Homer claimed that I had put a Viking helmet on Sargon, that everyone except me, knew that Vikings were the ones to wear horns and wasn’t I a silly little artiste. It didn’t help my case any when I sent a photo blow up of the head of Naram Sin, grandson of Sargon, wearing that same helmet on the famous Stelle of Naram Sin at the Louvre. In that photo any non expert could see plainly sticking out from the sides of the helmet, double horns on each side. Now on bas relief sculpture things are flat…but you can tell when an object sticks out and away from a surface. On other designs of helmets the horns are shown laying along the surface of the helmet…even in three dimensional sculptures such as the Lamasus and Winged Genius. For one thing, horns carved from stone, standing out free of any surface but the base at which they attach would be structurally weak and liable to be broken off. Designing them in such a way as to have them lying along the surface of the helmet makes perfect sense. I’m certain of the many bronze sculptures there must have been at the time, horns were indeed displayed sticking out…as they actually do from a bull’s head. The Assyrians were perfectly capable of handing two or more representations of one thing…inspite of what Christians might think. Unfortunately bronze was a precious metal back then and all movable objects were carried off and probably melted down eventually so that we have little to go by…except our own judgment and eyeballs.
After viewing the photographs I sent her expert, Homer still insisted that it was a Viking helmet. My last argument was that even if it was a Viking design as well, as I had no reason to doubt at the time…still it was significant that Assyrians had used the design first and the helmet should remain as I intended it. But, no deal. I cut the horns off. Luckily I just cast one for Narsai which will be part of the complete collection that only he will have…the one we’ll be touring in a few years…and on that one the double horns are where they belonged all along.
Just to make Homer’s status as an expert on Assyrian art complete…along comes an exhaustive study on Vikings…a portion of which was published in Time magazine about two years ago. On the cover there is a nice painting of what a Viking warrior looked like. There you’ll see the blue eyes, the long flowing red hair and beard…the set face and determined gaze. And on the head, the famous Viking helmet we’ve all heard so much about. And there are no horns…just an inverted metal bowl with some faint design elements. It turns out that Vikings NEVER had horns on their helmets at all…at no time whatever. Most likely some enterprising young designer back in the 20’s saw the Stelle of Naram Sin, or a photo of it…probably the same photo I sent Homer…and he decided that horns on a helmet would be just the thing to tack onto a Viking helmet…after all no one knew back then exactly what kinds of helmets Vikings wore…it wasn’t as if there was a Stelle at that time showing a Viking wearing a horned helmet, as there was one showing one of our people wearing one. So from that day on, the Valkyries, Prince Valiant and his men…even Haggar the Horrible, have been shown wearing helmets with horns. I should have known Homer Simpson got his information from the Funny Papers and comic books.
And today there sits, in the museum run by this expert, the expert who said my portraits were historically inaccurate, as he should know, a portrait of what is supposed to be Sargon the Great, gelded of his horns, wearing what NOW is most definitely a Viking helmet for it looks just like the one on the cover of Time magazine. And all of this was done not because of historical accuracy, or expertise, or based on anything else except the usual with us…jealousy and a desire for money, or the desire to hurt someone else who might make more of it and get more of it than you think you are entitled to…and that boys and girls, is exactly how we have served this GRAT PEEPIL and made a mockery of their heritage and standing in the world.
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