Thursday, January 21, 2010

Paintings I Like, pt. 44

Drunken Silenus Supported by Satyrs, ca. 1620, attributed to Anthony Van Dyck. Oil on canvas, 53" x 76."

"An old legend has it that King Midas hunted a long time in the woods for the wise Silenus, companion of Dionysos, without being able to catch him. When he had finally caught him the king asked him what he considered man's greatest good. The daemon remained sullen and uncommunicative until finally, forced by the king, he broke into a shrill laugh and spoke: 'ephemeral wretch, begotten by accident and toil, why do you force me to tell you what it would be your greatest boon not to hear? What would be best for you is quite beyond your reach: not to have been born, not to be, to be nothing. But the second best is to die soon.' "

-from "The Birth of Tragedy" by Friedrich Nietzsche, 1872: