Janus and Chronos at the New Year

Giulio Romano, Victory, Janus, Chronos and Gaea, preparatory drawing for the Sala dei Giganti in the Palazzo del Te, Mantua, ca. 1532-1534
Source: The J. Paul Getty Musuem / Getty Open Content Program

At the threshold between the years 2018 and 2019, Giulio Romano’s group of Janus and Chronos in a preparatory drawing for the Sala dei Giganti at the Palazzo del Te seems a particularly appropriate emblem. They belong to the gathering of gods who have just vanquished the giants, toppling everything in their path. Janus – who gives January its name – looks backward (as an old man) and forward (as a youth), viewing the past as well as the future. Chronos (“Father Time”) strides ahead purposefully, while Victory seems about to place the victor’s crown on his head, marking the ultimate triumph of the inexorable march of time. (The position of this crown is shifted in the executed fresco.) Finally, at the lower right, a wistful Gaea looks on in horror at the violent end of the giants.

After the upheavals of 2018, here’s hoping that Janus sees a bright future for us all in January and throughout the rest of 2019!

You Gotta Have Art

Sign Petition to Save the Detroit Institute of Arts

The title of this old commercial for the Detroit Institute of Arts says it all: please sign this petition begun by Professor Jeffrey Hamburger of Harvard University and addressed to Mr. Kevyn Orr, Detroit emergency manager.  As a Detroit-area native and former DIA employee, this cause is very important to me.

Petition Text

Prevent sale of works from the Detroit Institute of Arts

Dear Mr. Orr,

We, the undersigned, write to express our profound dismay at the news that the city of Detroit is considering auctioning off the collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts to meet the city’s obligations as part of the current bankruptcy proceedings. The Institute of Art’s collections are not only among the finest in the United States; they rank among the greatest in the world and contribute to the city’s international reputation. To sell them, in whole or in part, would seal the city’s shame, dispose of one of the most visible manifestations of its proud history, and inflict permanent, irreparable harm on the city as a center for culture, tourism and commerce. One doesn’t help a patient, even one who’s very sick, by cutting out his or her heart. We urge you to resist the pressures being brought to bear by creditors to resort to what would be an act of draconian cultural iconoclasm without parallel in modern times.

Yours sincerely,
Jeffrey Hamburger
Harvard University

Click here to add your name to the petition.