Monday, April 13, 2009
I made these sketches as I reread one of my favorite books, The Golden Ass, by Apuleius. It's also called the Metamorphoses, and is from ancient Rome. It's a wild and hilarious fantasy that plumbs the depths and ascends the heights of humanity. The hero, Lucius, is transformed into a donkey and mingles with robbers, murderers, prostitutes, ghosts, witches, a guy with a nose made of gold, lovers, priests, and gods. He witnesses the whole mess of late-Roman life, from street violence and sexual degradation to the wistfulness of love and spiritual transcendence. It's a sort of ribald Romana Commedia. As Oscar Wilde put it, "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." And it's also the source of the profound and lovely tale of Cupid and Psyche. These sketches aren't in any particular order.