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Friday, June 29, 2012

Chapter 7, The 2CV On Strike, parts 304 - 307

Richard Britell June 29, 2012

304. But before I can tell you what happened to the old man at the hospital I have to get him there first, and I ran into problems right away. First I did not know the way and promptly got lost by making a wrong turn.

305. Also my old car, the 2CV which was always so reliable picked that critical moment to develop a knocking sound in the engine.

306. Out in the middle of nowhere, on a road that was not even paved, I pulled the car over and opened the hood.

307. My worst fear was being low on oil, and sure enough when I pulled out the dipstick there was not a drop of oil on it. Imagine my distress. I simply could not drive the car with a knocking sound and no oil, but meanwhile Buboni was dying in the front seat.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Casting Manhole Covers, parts, 300 - 303

Richard Britell June 28, 2012

300. A note to anyone reading these texts. When I started this story of my drive around southern France, I posted pictures that went with my story, such as the one above showing my car,  the 2CV. I was also posting pictures of the places I stopped and the interesting things I saw. But after I picked up the Duck he volunteered to choose all the pictures saying, "Your stuff is too dumb, let me do it for you." So the Duck took over the pictures.

301. So the Duck was doing the pictures, and then we picked up Buboni, and since then they have been doing the pictures together. Now, low and behold, I take a look and I see that they have been playing all sorts of tricks on me and putting up all kinds of crazy images which have no connection to the story I am telling. Look up there, what is a picture of Stalin doing in this story? This could be aggravating to people.

302. So I asked the Duck, "Why the picture of Stalin?" And this is what he said.  "Back in section 168, you were talking about how I went to the monastery to get my legs made the same length, and so I put up the picture of Stalin, because Stalin had one arm too short, and he was schooled in a church school like a monastery to be a Priest, it's perfectly obvious to me what the connection was, anyone would see it, and that goes for the above also."

303. This is what it is like dealing with the Duck with his perpetual memory, and complicated way of thinking.  I told him that in the future we would have to put some notes of explanations sometimes, and perhaps some links, and since you can't put links on Pinterest, they would have to be on the blog. Meanwhile, if anyone wonders what some of these pictures mean, just ask, and I will try to find out, and I am sure Buboni will help once he is better.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Casting Manhole Covers, parts, 296 - 299

Richard Britell June 27, 2012

296. I feel very bad spending so much time telling you about my trivial concerns with the plasters casts of the manhole covers, and in the meantime poor old Buboni was there in the front seat of the 2CV dying of cholera. I am sure you want to know what happened to him.

297. I am going to tell you outright that Buboni did not die. It all happened only just a few days ago, and I want to put your mind at rest about this, because I know you are concerned about him, just as I was.

298. I could have dragged the story out, and made you think he was going to die any instant, but that is the sort of thing professional writers do, and by now you probably realize that I am not one of those sorts.

299. But the great art historian's stay in the hospital was very interesting in many other ways, and that is what I want to tell you about.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Casting Manhole Covers, parts, 292 - 295

Richard Britell June 26, 2012

292. I was so upset about this I called Mrs. Festini at home the next day, but she know all about it. "You're not thinking", she said, "only the mold is reversed, when you pull out the cast it will be right reading."

293. "Just consider", said Festini over the phone,"the face you see in the mirror every day is reversed and it doesn't bother you, you never notice it, and when you see someone you know reflected in a window you would never even notice the face is reversed unless they had a license plate attached to their forehead, then you would see it instantly."

294. "Because a license plate is so much more important than a person's face isn't it Mr. Bartlesby," she said.

295. That was Mrs. Festini being sarcastic again.

Casting Manhole Covers, parts 288 - 291

Richard Britell June 25, 2012

288.I suppose, being a policeman on a night route, and having nothing to do, having someone to talk to was interesting for him.  I would work on my mold making and he would stand behind me and ask questions, one after another.

289. Bob, that was the policeman's name, wanted to know a lot of things. "Will it be bronze when it is done? How does the mold stay flat when you put the plaster in? Is it heavy when it is finished"? Bob was full of questions but I could tell he was not really interested because he never listened to my answers, he was just killing time.

290. One night he was there when I pulled the latex mold up from a manhole cover and he was very interested to see the result. I turned it over and showed it to him by the light of the street lamp. "This is interesting," he said, "look at the letters, they are all backward, don't you think it will look odd if the lettering is backward?" he wanted to know.

291. I was stumped and confused, it never crossed my mind that the mold would be all backward looking, and I didn't know what to say. "I'll have to ask Mrs. Festini about this right away", I said. I had to put my project on hold for a time till I figured things out.  I tried to remember if my hand was backward when I cast it in plaster, was it a left or a right, I didn't know.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Casting Manhole Covers, parts 284 - 287

Richard Britell June 24, 2012

284. In our art room at the museum were some art journals and from the pictures in those magazines I got a feeling for what was bothering my art teacher, but for her to say  the exhibits were intended to make people feel stupid was going to far. It certainly looked peculiar to me, but they must have had their reasons, I'm sure.

285. Anyway, I took Mrs. Festini's advice and started to go out late at night to make plaster casts of manhole covers and sewer grates. The first night I painted the latex mold material onto a manhole on a side street, and on the next night it was cured and ready to be removed.

286. I made many molds this way. A policeman did stop me and asked what I  was doing but I did not take Mrs. Festini's advice, I just said it was an art project for a museum art class, and I did it at night so as not to be disturbed.

287. The same policeman drove that neighborhood every night and he invariably stopped to see how I was doing and how my project was coming along.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Casting Manhole Covers, parts 280 - 283

280. Mrs. Festini said, "If anyone asks you what you are doing just say it is an project for an art exhibit at a Museum, as soon as they hear that they will go away and leave you alone, you will see". "And why would that be Mrs. Festini"? I asked.

281. 'Because art exhibits in museums make most people feel stupid and ignorant  so they want to get away from such things as soon as they possibly can.  As a matter of fact, any exhibit that does not make ordinary everyday people feel ignorant and stupid is hardly worth anything, take my word for it." she was in a bad mood when she said that.

282. What Mrs. Festini said could not have been true, but I could tell she was going through a difficult time ever since her still life painting had been rejected from the museum show by the curator from Detroit.

283. After the rejection of her painting she started to make frequent trips up to Detroit to see art exhibits in galleries up there, and after each trip she would be in an angry mood. She felt that her paintings would never be in a Museum because they only wanted bad art. I don't know what she was looking at up there, I have never been to Detroit.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Casting Manhole Covers, Parts 276 - 279

Richard Britell June 22, 2012
276. I got together all my equipment and I went to the cover I had picked out, but couldn't go through with it. I was sure that if anyone saw me casting a manhole cover they would think I was crazy.

277. On Saturday I told Mrs. Festini about my problem;  how I  wanted to cast the man hole cover in plaster but couldn't because I felt too self conscious.

278. In the art room there is a book shelf with a collection of art books and she got down a book on an artist named Albert Ryder. She read the part in it that explained how Albert, to get ideas for his paintings would go out walking all night long, and would 'Soak up the moonlight' to use in his work.

279. What Mrs. Festini was suggesting was that I make the cast in the middle of the night when there was nobody around to bother me. Going out all night for your art work must have been fine for Mr. Ryder, but I still felt odd about doing it.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chapter 6, Casting Manhole Covers, parts 272 - 275

Richard Britell June 21, 2012

272.  Before I tell you what happened to Buboni at the hospital I feel I should go back and explain what I said about myself in part 251. It was true that I was out walking in the middle of the night, but I want to tell you how it came about.

273. At first I went walking after dinner, and at the time I was often lost in thought about what was so important to me back then, making plaster casts for my sculpture class.

274. I had succeeded with the cast of my hand, and had also made a cast of my foot but now I was trying to think of something more interesting. On my walks I was noticing all of the interesting shapes in the road and  got the idea to make a cast of one of them.

275. I considered casting a sewer lid, and a sewer grate, and also those square metal covers over electrical connections in the sidewalk. I considered casting a form of the stamps the masons use in the sidewalk, but I made up my mind to do one of those big round steel plates that cover electrical terminals in the road, the ones about 3 feet wide with all the embossment and lettering.

Cholera, parts 268 - 271

Richard Britell June 21, 2012

268. Buboni continued with his ranting "And then the Pope would have to go to work, knowing every instant that it was all a big farce, a big charade, a Punch and Judy show, a sad magic trick everyone sees through, a worn out one act play with no plot..." As he raved he put his face closer and closer to the Abbot, flecks of foam flew from his lips. He took a step back and then collapsed onto the floor in a heap. 

269. "It's Cholera", said the Abbot. "Where is the nearest hospital" said the Duck,  "I will go get the car", I said. And so we prepared to do something about our dear art historian friend, but the Abbot said, "It may already be too late.

270. The Abbot made a phone call and informed us; the hospital was full and could take no more patients, we were to transport him to an auxiliary location, the former World War I Armory was being use about six miles from Dannersville. We set out, Buboni riding in the front seat for once.

271. The entire six miles the old man was nearly incoherent, he kept babbling on with his art history nonsense, stopping mid-sentence and changing the subject. He was especially concerned about the Popes, and their art commissions, but I could make no sense out of it. "Its obvious", said the Duck,"He is the 'Pope' and Catholicism is his art history, he now is beginning to think of it as a big crock of duck excrement. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chapter 5, Cholera!, parts 264 - 267

Richard Britell June 20, 2012

264. The Abbot went on,"His trust fund paid for his keep at the institution but when he was about thirteen he ran away. The next time he appears it is in Lyons selling Bibles door to door. The next few years were difficult for him because he had no papers or identification, but correspondence with the religious  orphanage established his identity. 

265. Here Buboni let out another low moan, and we realized it was not his impatience with the fanciful story of the Nigerian, the groan was because he had not gotten over his indisposition from the night before.  He left us for another visit to the bathroom. Off he went, using his crutch, and dragging his broken foot behind him.

266. The Duck gave me a significant look. Buboni had not touched his lunch.  When he came back from the bathroom the duck said, "Buboni, you are pale as a ghost, or, as Twain would say, 'you are toad belly white'".

267. Buboni ignored him and sat down again, and the Abbot continued talking of the Nigerian. "He will come into an inheritance when he reaches his 24th" but suddenly Buboni stood up to his full height, threw his crutch on the floor and shouted. "What if the Pope woke up one morning and realized that the entire history of Catholicism was an entire crock of bull"

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Buboni, Lost In The Woods, parts 260 - 263

260.  I was becoming anxious to be on our way. The reader may remember after all this time, that my purpose was to drive across the Alps and down into Italy in search of artifacts to make molds and casts from, but I had been sidetracked by the desire of the Duck to visit the monastery.  Not only had we visited the Shrine, but his purpose in coming here had seemingly been fulfilled with the miracle of his legs being the same length.

261. And you also know that I did not think any "miracle" had taken place, it was just a matter of perception and expectation on the part of the Duck.  Since our business at the shrine was concluded I was getting ready to depart, but the Duck begged me to remain just through lunch with the Abbot.  What that Duck's motive was soon became clear, he wanted to pump the Abbot for more information about the Nigerian, and that is just what he did.

262.  Over lunch the Abbot told the Duck what he had been able to find out about the Nigerian.  The first and most important fact about him was that he was a French citizen because his mother was a French woman who had married a wealthy Nigerian banker.  Shortly after the marriage the husband and wife moved to Lagos, where they lived in style until the boy was about five at which time both mother and father were killed in a plane crash.

263. At this point in the story Buboni let out a low groan, and the Duck adjusted his posture in a way indicating great skepticism, but the Abbot corrected them immediately. "No No No", he said,  "it is not some e-mail scam involving unclaimed funds in a Nigerian Bank, please, we my live in a remote world, but we know all about that sort of thing."  There are no millions in an account, but their was a trust fund which paid for his education in a Nigerian religious institution.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Buboni, Lost In The Woods, parts 256 - 259

Richard Britell June 17, 2012

256. "You mean to tell me," exclaimed the Duck, "the itinerant Nigerian man who was selling the fake handbags in front of the Shrine is a brother of the Monastery?"

257. "Not exactly", responded the Abbot. "He showed up about a year ago and asked for lodging for the night. He was in such a tattered condition we could hardly refuse. In the morning he made himself useful by tidying up the kitchen and  weeding the garden before the brothers came down for breakfast. He does not really speak French, and knows just a little English, but the amazing thing about him is, he knows the King James version of the Bible practically by heart."

258. "He uses mostly quotes from the Bible to communicate with us, and to this day we can't be sure if he understands what he is saying or not, or if it is something like a parrot repeating things he has heard over and over. Regardless of his handsome physical appearance and physical strength, we think he may actually be a little..." Here the Abbot fell silent. He was about to imply the Nigerian was slow,  but he was reluctant to actually say it.

259. The business of selling the fake hand bags began shortly after his arrival, but we have, I must admit, ignored it because he is so useful to us in so many ways, with all the heavy work that must be done day and night in an establishment like this. For some reason he has always been terrified of the local police, and has run off like this on more than one occasion.

Buboni, Lost In The Woods, parts 252 - 255

Richard Britell June 16, 2012

252. Buboni wanted to depart from the monastery but the Duck wanted to make another visit to old Frangeopani before we left. The Abbot sent his boy to enquire if the old man was receiving visitors. He soon returned to say, that anyone could come who wanted too, but the old man was deeply upset about some things that had happened during the night.

253. The children from Dannersville had struck old Frangeopani again during the night. Not content with bombing him with water balloons now and then and nailing his chain to the tree while he was asleep, they had snuck up in the night and painted the words "God Loves You", in giant letters on the side of his shack. The old man's first impulse was to just paint it out as he had all the other stupid thing they had painted on his shed but...

254. How was a devout old man to paint over the words "God loves you", obliterating a thought so close to his heart. The children with the infallible accuracy of naive intelligence had struck him in his sorest spot, his vanity.  Frangeopani was one of those who believed that God loved him an extra special amount.  But he was loth to broadcast this idea by way of a shed billboard to the entire Monastic community.  The text could even be seen from the highway a quarter mile from his shack.

255. This would have been no problem for him if his assistant had been around.  Frangeopani had a helper who came every afternoon and helped him with his rewriting of Scriptures. The assistant would have taken care of the defacement and graffiti on the shed as he always had in the past. His assistant had disappeared the day before, he was none other than the Nigerian. So explained the Abbot's boy to us, as we debated what to do next.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Buboni, Lost In The Woods, parts 248 - 251

Richard Britell June 15, 2012

248. Bernice explained that if the refrigerator was placed where it was it meant that one was facing west when one opened the door.  West is the direction of the setting of the sun, so obviously opening the refrigerator door was inviting death into the kitchen. The object had to be placed so that one looked east when the door was opened.

249. The contents of the refrigerator, on view to Bernice's inquiring eye only confirmed her diagnosis. The thing had to be moved, but it also had to be emptied and steam cleaned. No more baloney, no more Miracle Whip, no more bacon and eggs, iceberg lettuce or Pepsi.  All that seems so long ago now, that period of starvation, and the inconvenience of having to put the refrigerator down in the cellar so it faced in the correct direction.

250. All of those changes did not make things better at home for me. I tried my best to go along with the changes in my diet. I also began to exercise regularly, for the first time in my life.  I would go for a long walk after dinner, sometimes for up to two hours. At first I went out about seven, but I took to going out later and later for my constitutional, and toward the end I would be out from two till six in the morning.

251. I had retired, I had nothing to do. I was sixty-four, and was living like a tortured  prisoner in my own house. I thought to myself, "What if I live to be eighty-eight?  My God, twenty four years of watching television and eating sprouts and tofu?" For the first time in my life I began to hate living, and then I started taking the sculpture class. Mrs. Festini, she was my salvation. But you don't want to know about all this, I'm sure.

Buboni, Lost In The Woods, parts 244 - 247

Richard Britell June 14, 2012

244. The reason I was acquainted with Feng Shui is because of my wife's friend Bernice, she is an expert, and teaches a course in it at the Museum where I was taking the sculpture class from Mrs. Festini. My wife invited Bernice over to the house to have a look at the layout.  She felt that the bad Feng Shui of the house was the reason my wife and I were not getting along.

245. Bernice did not come right out and say it was the reason for the trouble between me and my wife, and as far as I know, there wasn't any trouble except for her objecting to my taking the sculpture classes on Saturday, from Mrs. Festini. She went through our house from top to bottom and her suggestions amounted to nothing short of tearing the whole house down and starting from scratch. 

246.  It was very odd the way that Bernice did not seem to understand that reconstruction was not an option. She felt the problems were so obvious, and the solutions so beneficial, that only an ignoramus would be raising objections.  First of all the house faced the wrong way and was not tall enough for its width.  Her husband had torn down their house twice already, so perhaps that is why she did not view it as an obstacle.

247. When I finally was able to convince her that I could not tear down the house, she said there were some things I had to do to get things going in the right direction. First was the front door, it had to be painted blue immediately, this was no problem. Then we had to find a different place for the refrigerator. The refrigerator was set in such a way that one was facing west when one opened the door.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Buboni, Lost In The Woods, parts 240 - 243

Richard Britell, June 13, 2012

240. Having finished his preamble, he looked down at the cast on his foot, as did everyone else. "Imagine for a moment", he went on, "a flight of stairs ending at a closed door. Now, further imagine you have just rung the door bell. The door opens out, and pushes you backwards so that you fall down the stairs! Do you not see," Buboni went on, "That the door in question is in the wrong place, and opens the wrong way? Isn't it obvious? This is an example of very bad Feng Shui."

241. "Now consider the door to your bathroom on the second floor of the Monastery dormitory.  If one were about to open that door, and instead the door were to open because someone else was coming out, then the door in question would give you a shove right down the staircase, as happened to me in the middle of the night."

242. It was just like him to turn his misfortune into a lecture on architecture and spatial arrangement, but I could see the point he was trying to make.  Just the simple rebuilding of the dormitory, or the rearrangement of the plumbing of the 400 year old building would surely solve the problem of the door opening the wrong way.

243. The Abbot offered no apology for the Feng Shui of his building and the expression on his face told me that he was not very sympathetic to old Buboni's complaints. I understood Buboni's point, but I could also sympathize with the Abbot.  I too had the same experience about the Feng Shui of my house, because of my wife's friend Bernice, the Feng Shui expert.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Buboni, Lost In The Woods, 236 - 239

Richard Britell June 12, 2012

236. I neglected to mention, Buboni was not with us at breakfast with the Abbot.  He was indisposed because of a series of misfortunes that seemed to have attacked him during the night. Something he ate disagreed with him, and he was up over and over again with trips to the bathroom in the dormitory.

237. On his fifth trip to the bathroom there was a commotion at the top of the stairs, and then a sound for a few seconds like someone drying cinder blocks in a clothes drier. The sound, apparently, was Buboni falling down the dormitory stairs. After that he seemed to be able to get some sleep, but in the morning he went off to the Monastery's infirmary. 

238. When we were coming out of the shrine Buboni caught up with us, hobbling up with his foot in a cast, and using a crutch.  "Look here", he said, accosting the Abbot in an aggressive way, "are you, or anyone else at the Monastery aware of the science of Feng Shui?"  Even with his foot in a cast, and being awake half the night, Buboni was going to launch into one of his lectures about art, there was no stopping him.

239. The Duck, getting out his ipad, quickly looked up Feng Shui, but he was unable to come up with anything specific, all he said was, "It is quite complicated, to say the least.  "Put simply", said Buboni, barging in, "It is the study of how to arrange things, especially architecture and furniture and such, so that it exerts the greatest possible force for good in one's life.  It involves also studying how to avoid certain clumsy, inappropriate arrangements of doors windows, mirrors and or furniture, in order to avoid mishaps and disasters."

Monday, June 11, 2012

Buboni, Lost In The Woods, parts 232 - 235

Richard Britell June 11, 2012

232. In the morning we had breakfast with the Abbot, and then we made another visit to the Shrine. To everyone's amazement we discovered the finger had been restored to the reliquary, and the crystal panel had been repaired and replaced.

233. "Thank God the precious finger has been restored", said the Abbot, "But what do you suppose has happened to the duck excrement that spent the night in the reliquary?"
"Who would care about that?" I said.

234. "Listen," said the Abbot, "billions and billions of duck excrements have been produced throughout history, and yet, only one has spent the night in Simon Agonisties, reliquary. Do you really think for one instant this is a meaningless coincidence?"

235. The Abbot continued, "Association is the key to spiritual power. The wood of the true cross has power because of its proximity to the Savior. This duck excrement may not be able to raise the dead, it may not be able to cast out devils, but you can be sure it will be capable of some pretty astounding accomplishments!"

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Buboni, Lost In The Woods, parts 228 - 231

Richard Britell June 10, 2012

228.  Buboni's last blog post was a quote from Dante's Inferno, Canto I:
Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.
Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say
What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,
Which in the very thought renews the fear.
So bitter is it, death is little more;

229. I read Buboni's blog post of the quote from Dante and I felt at last I understood something about these art types I had been traveling with. Buboni was not "Lost in a wood," and neither was Dante. The woods were just a metaphor for how they felt about their lives.

230. Apparently metaphor, for these artistic types, was very important. As a matter of fact, for them reality was just a metaphor for things already in their heads, and all metaphors for them, were a reality.

231. I kept what I know about Buboni to myself, and did not even share it with the Duck, although I was tempted. I thought to myself, "I too am lost in a wood, but I have no intention of talking about it to anyone."

Buboni, Lost In The Woods, parts 224 - 227

Richard Britell June 9, 2012 

224. After this Buboni disappeared from view. No one saw or heard anything about him for over six months. The next mention of him was by one of Thomas Aimes' students who said he had seen him in Paris at the bus station soliciting people to join his tour of the Louvre, where he was giving guided tours. 

225. Later there was a notice in a Paris paper.  He was arrested at the Louvre for  impersonating a tour guide. He was unable to pay the fine so spent  a few days in jail.

226. Later he was again arrested for selling small models of the Eiffel Tower to tourists without a licence, and without being a French citizen. He said, "I feel like Einstein trying to get work tutoring grade school children in arithmetic." This remark nearly got him committed. 

227.  At some point during this time he posted a note to his blog. His post was dated about  a month before we picked him up on the road.  This is what was in his post. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Buboni, Lost In The Woods, parts 220 - 223

Richard Britell June, 8, 2012

220.  Buboni's long and illustrious career as an art historian ended abruptly at 10:00 AM that Saturday morning as people all over the world read the newspaper article. What this was like for Buboni who was not young, and had never encountered any adversity before is both hard to describe, and hard to imagine. Buboni's blog entries from the time give us a good idea of what it was like for him.

221. He wrote: It was as though I had become schizophrenic but it was a schizophrenia imposed on me from the outside, and not something from the inside.  Each person I met, my first thought was, "Do they know what has happened to me or not." And from their facial expressions I tried to guess, because no one would dare to talk about it.  Everywhere I went I thought I saw sympathetic eyes, and behind my back, sarcastic snickering.

222. Worst of all were the highly conservative students who came to my defence, defending me for things I never said, and rationalizing positions that had only been attributed to me by the radicals in the newspapers.

223. In the past, to have an assessment by Buboni as part of a works provenance was considered an asset, now overnight  it became an embarrassment. It was not long before Buboni was deluged with lawsuits claiming that he was responsible for the devaluation of some collector's work of art.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Buboni, Lost In The Woods, parts 216 - 219

Richard Britell June 7, 2012

216. The fact that this Raphael painting was the one that Buboni credited with being at the origin of his Destructivist theory would not have mattered so much except that it had become for him the signature anecdote of his speaking career.  He loved to relate this story, dwelling on his humility relative to the pious old woman.

217. As the years went by this Raphael painting according to his descriptions became more and more exceptional, until it seemed that Buboni was going to exhaust the Thaursus' substitutions for the word beautiful.  The image of the painting or details from it were invariably used on the covers of his books.

218. So Thomas Aimes worked this fact in passing into his article about Buboni not failing to mention the incorrect attribution of the Leonardo drawing. He also spent several paragraphs inquiring into the ethics of an art historian being paid a commission to validate the authenticity of old master paintings as if such a fee could be construed as a form of bribery.

219. No sooner was this article published but the Times of London picked it up, and on a Saturday of slow news, wrote it up under a caption "Fake", with two images, one of the Raphael painting and the other of Buboni. The article was very complete, and repeated all of the details of the Aimes article, and added some new material of the same sort. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Buboni, Lost In The Woods, parts 212 - 215

Richard Britell June 6, 2012

212. By 1975 the Vatican had set up a fellowship at the University to provide funds, a workshop, and time and working materials and in exchange the University made specific copies at the Church's request, and so gradually the most famous pieces were replaced with excellent copies.

213.  The church did not publicize these changes, and no one noticed them,  for one simple reason, the modern tourist has usually never seen the original, and the original was never illuminated by electric lights. When the modern-day tourist, or art historian stands in front of an old master painting and puts a coin into a slot to turn on the blazing electric lights, he is lucky to emerge without serious damage to his retinas, and he will have little recollection of the painting he was attempting to view.

214. At the end of the article about the consequence of the Lazlio Toth attack was a long list of the paintings the Vatican had replaced with reproductions, third on the list was one Raphael, replaced in 1974, which was of great interest to Thomas Aimes for his article on Buboni.

215. This Raphael, "Madonna and Child", the vary same painting that Buboni claimed was the beginning of his "Theory of Historical Distructivism." 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Buboni, Lost In The Woods, parts 208 - 211

Richard Britell June 5, 2012

208. This mistake of Buboni's may very well have gone unnoticed, and even if it had been commented on in art circles would have done him little damage but there was another article Thomas found in the Vatican Journal that was more embarrassing, although of an anecdotal character.

209. The magazine article which ended Buboni's professional career, and turned him from a respected art historian into a laughingstock concerned the attack on Michelangelo's  Pieta by Laszlo Toth, in 1972.  Here are the highlights of that

210. The art treasures of the Roman Catholic  Church had been freely on view to the public for hundreds of years but after the Lazilo Toth attack on the Pieta the Vatican decided to reconsider it policies.  The church could not afford the enormous increase in insurance costs the attack on the sculpture produced, and so a new policy was put in place.

211. For years at the University of Padua,  the post-graduate art students completed an annual project consisting of making a copy of some great Renaissance masterpiece, and these beautifully executed copies lined the great hall of the school's library.  The Vatican began purchasing these paintings and, one by one replacing the originals with them in the various important churches in Rome.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Buboni, Lost In The Woods, parts 204 - 207

Richard Britell,  June 4, 2012

204. Aimes had lost his house and his job but he still possessed his authentic Leonardo drawing and his dignity.  The last straw came for him when he had to pack the great Buboni's groceries at the super-market where he had been forced to take a job. Buboni did not recognize him, and he was unsure if he was glad about it or not.

205. That night after work Thomas  did not go right home, he went to the library instead. His intent was to use the library computer and read as much about Buboni as he could in preparation for writing an article about him for an art journal.  Articles were constantly being written about Buboni and his theories, so this was nothing new, but Aimes was filled with evil intentions.

206. Thomas was lucky that day, or fickle fate had decided to undermine Buboni's long run of good luck in the art history field.  For years the great man had supplemented his ample income by appraising works of art. He charged a very small percentage of the assessed value of the work, but this produced huge sums when the item in question turned out to be a work by an old master.

207. Assessed evaluation usually proceeded auctions so that everyone profited all around. For twenty years Buboni's assessments had gone unchallenged and then by accident the Vatican published a letter from Michelangelo to Raphael that proved without a doubt that a drawing in the Vasari collection had not been done by Piero Della Francesca as Buboin had thought, but was an "ineffectual copy by Piero De Cosomo"  of a drawing Fra Angelico's assistants accidentally dropped into a privy while working on the frescoes in San Francesco at Arezzo. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Buboni, Lost In The Woods, parts 200 and 203-

Richard Britell June 3, 2012

200. This article was very unfair, and had been written by the students simply from spite, and to create a controversy, but it had a decided effect on Buboni. He felt he had to so something to prove himself to the students so he decided to teach two classes at the university. The first class would be 'Basic Drawing', and the second 'Basic Painting'. 

201. It was his intent to reintroduce all the lost practices and procedures of the old masters in these classes, and to re-establish the lost arts of painting and drawing on a firm foundation. This plan was his second big mistake.

202. One unfortunate side effect of Arnold's plan was that Professor Thomas Aimes now lost his teaching position. Thomas was only part time faculty hired to fill in for a year for someone on sabbatical, but now his classes were taken over by Buboni. This was the same Thomas Aimes whose Leonardo drawing had been disparaged by Buboni.

203. The university welcomed this plan because they were anxious to be rid of Aimes anyway. Thomas Aimes was a great admirer of anything modern and radical and he had recently given the assignment. "Discuss the importance of graffiti on historic monuments in the area.'' This assignment was misunderstood by his students with serious disastrous results.  As so often happens at universities with part time radical professors, he had a dedicated student following among who were the the editors of the school paper.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Buboni, Lost In The Woods, parts 196 - 199

Richard Britell June 2, 2012

196. Buboni's serious difficulties seem to have begun at a dinner party a few days after New Years, two years ago. He was drunk, and his drunken friends were chiding him in an apparently innocent way about never writing any articles about art after 1870.

197. In reaction to this he declared, slurring his words in his drunkenness, "Articles about art history written after 1880, are not art history at all, it is just advertising copy designed to sell garbage to rich idiots."

198. First of all Buboni did not really believe this, and even if he did he should never have said it.  Even if a cow is sacred, it is best to leave it alone, but also, he especially loved some of the Impressionists, although not all of them.

199. His enemies debated what to do with this remark and decided to leak it to a source that could do him the most damage, so they gave it to the editors of the student newspaper who had no trouble extrapolating his remarks into something inflammatory. Their article was titled, "Buboni says Cezanne's paintings are garbage being sold to rich idiots.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Buboni, Lost In The Woods, parts 192 - 195

Richard Britell June 1, 2012
192. There was a exhibit at the university; professors were invited to display works from their private collections. This exhibit included many never before seen paintings and drawings, the cherished possessions of their owners. Thomas Ames, a professor of painting and drawing, had to be teased and coaxed to display his small drawing by Leaonardo, which had been in Vasari's collection. The University agreed to take out insurance for this drawing to be included.

193. Buboni, taking a quick look at the drawing declared, "This is not a Leonardo, these strokes are  right handed, it's probably just something by a lesser known artist like Cesare Da Sesto.  *(author's note the drawing above illustrates this misattribution, the strokes are said to be 'right handed' but their 'arc' shows that the paper was upside down!)

194. Buboni however, was  entirely wrong about this. Professor Ames had noticed the right-handed strokes years ago, took the drawing to a specialist who said. "Leonardo was just shading with the paper upside down, this is clear from the very slight backward 'tails' at the end of the stroke which showed that the stroke was a left handed stroke with the paper upside down.

195.  Professor Ames was too proud, and too full of hatred for Buboni to come to the defense of his Leonardo, as if to have to defend such a thing was beneath his dignity, but he should have said something when he had the chance, because soon after the bank foreclosed on his house because his loan was backed up by his Leonardo drawing.