Sunday, January 17, 2010

Young Hercules

Friday night at the Metropolitan Museum. It was a long weekend and empty. I prefer the Met at such times, especially the Greek and Roman galleries. There I can sit undisturbed and unselfconsciously gawp at the Young Hercules, my favorite statue in the Met. At such times, a hush falls over the courtyard and the fountain trickles a treble concerto, encouraging relaxation. In the evenings, the light plays tricks on the eyes. The shadows accentuate the bulk of the Young Hercules, creating the expectation of seeing his massive pectorals rise in respiration. I advance closer, to make sure that I'm not seeing things, that there isn't really a heart beating under that muscle bound chest. Despite the pock marked torso, the skin still stretches tight over muscles flexed with self assurance. The Young Hercules stands proud and strong despite an obvious defilement rendered by the Victorians (oh, to have seen the Young Hercules in his original form!) His gaze surveys the room, proclaiming the perfection of his body. Always when I enter this courtyard, my eyes dart directly to him. It makes me want to say, "Damn, he's beautiful." If he could, I think the Young Hercules would smile at the compliment.

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