Calumny of Apelles
I am not a fan of people who photograph paintings in museums. If you like the painting, buy the postcard, a poster, or better yet, a book, when exiting through the gift shop. I have seen professionals photograph artwork in museums. Unless you use color calibration tools, solid tripods with levels, and an expensive digital back, you cannot replicate the painting.
Having said that, I couldn't resist a snapshot of Sandro Botticielli's The Calumny of Appelles in the Uffizi. It is a painting for our time. On the right side of the painting sits King Midas on his thrown. He is painted with jackass ears. Two women flank him. One is Ignorance and the other is Suspicion. Midas' outstretched hand points to Slander. The woman approaching Midas with the torch demonstrates wrath and fury. The woman is dragging a young man who is praying to heaven to prove his innocence. Accompanying the woman are Fraud and Conspiracy. On the painting's left side, the Venus-like figure represents Truth, and the woman in black is Repentance.
Botticielli based this painting on one by the Greek painter, Apelles, who lived in the Fourth Century B.C. The painting did not survive, so Botticielli relied on a description. That must have been one helluva of description.
So, 2500 years later, do the translation. King Midas is Trump. Ignorance is Donald Trump, Jr. and the Base, and Suspicion is the right-wing of the Republican Party that denies both climate change and Russian involvement in the 2017 election. Sarah Sanders Huckabee is represented by Slander. The people who strenuously oppose Trump are represented by Innocence. And then there is Bob Mueller as Truth. Not much has changed.
Returning to the painting, itself, or more appropriately, the Uffizi's treatment of it. I love how the curators have recessed it into the wall. Botticilli used tempura to create this masterpiece. Works in tempura are the most difficult ones to photograph because the medium is highly reflective. One can only imagine what the piece of anti-glare, museum glass set in front of the painting costs. It does it job without detracting from Botticielli's effort.
A painting for our times.