Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The venus of Rubens: our ancestors as strangers

Sometimes our ancestors are strangers to me. I must have been 19 years old when I went to Antwerpen (Belgium) together with a friend. Visited the house of Rubens (dutch 'Het Rubenshuis') a famous painter who lived from 1577-1640. "Here is the house. That's the entrance door to the garden. The statue of Venus must be in the second niche on the right." Walking and counting. "One and two. That is strange. I must have counted wrong." I walked back to the house. Looked at the map again. Walked and counted again. I did it 5 times but everytime I ended for the same statue in the same niche. I even looked in every niche  in the garden to make sure that the map was - by accident? - wrong. Suddenly, it was completely clear to me. I looked at the correct Venus all the time but his Venus is not mine. Rubens' Venus and my Venus are two completely  different kinds of "beautiful" woman. The concept of a beautiful woman must have changed in history. What a surprise!

How did she look like?

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