Wednesday, February 19, 2020
The $150,000 License Plate
Previously, there was here reviewed a decision of the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky in which it was held that the Department of Transportation acted inappropriately in denying the license plate "IM GOD." HERE IS A LINK to my earlier note on this decision. It contains as well a link to the similar discussion on the Religion Clause Blog.
Earlier this week, the Transportation Cabinet was ordered to pay in excess of $150,000 to the plaintiff in recompense for the attorney fees and expenses he incurred in bringing (and prevailing in) this litigation. HERE IS A LINK to the newswire story on this development.
University of Tennessee College of Law Announces Short List for Dean Position
Last week the University of Tennessee College of Law announced its short list of candidates for the position of Dean; HERE IS A LINKto that posting.
It goes without saying (but I will say it anyway) that I am delighted that my friend Joan Heminway, a scholar in the law of business organizations and securities law, is on the short list.
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
The Death of Michelangelo
Today marks the anniversary of the death in 1564 of Michelangelo Buonarroti.
Originally trained by means of an apprenticeship in sculpture, he had previously spent time as well living with the family of a stone mason. While living with the mason he was struck and his nose was broken; the consequences of the mishap can be seen thereafter in his portraits. Before reaching the age of thirty, Michelangelo created any number of significant works, including the Pieta, now in the Vatican, and his statue of David, which remains in Florence. He as well created the statue of Moses with Horns (the horns being based upon a translaion error in the Bible) that is a portion of the tomb of Pope Julius II; the final tomb was far smaller than intended.
He was a contemporary of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Titian.
Although throughout his life he claimed he was a sculptor and not a painter, Michelangelo created innumerable paintings, most memorably the frescos on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and as well as the Last Judgment painted on the alter wall of the chapel. Famously, Michelangelo’s portrait appears in the latter, appearing on the flayed skin of St. Bartholomew. Today, the Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church gather under those paintings when called upon to elect the next Bishop of Rome.
Michelangelo had also been commissioned (although the work was never put in place) to provide a new façade to a basilica in Florence and as well served as the architect for St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. With respect that second project, much of the current shape of the basilica is his invention as is the design of the dome.
While he died in Rome, Michelangelo was buried in Florence. As recorded by Vasari:
They [those gathered for his funeral] did so eagerly that those who could approach near and get a shoulder under the bier could indeed count themselves fortunate, for they realized that in the future they would be able to boast of having carried the remains of the greatest man their arts had ever known.
February 18 is also the anniversary of the death in 1546 of Martin Luther. Following the admonition that if you don’t have anything nice to say about somebody you should say nothing , ....
Friday, February 7, 2020
The Bonfire of the Vanities
Today, February 7, marks the anniversary of the Bonfire of the Vanities, an event which took place in Florence, Italy in 1497.
Savonarola, a Dominican Friar, had been preaching against the material and artistic excesses present in Florence, arguing in contrast for a life of austerity. He objected to the veneration shown for classical tests and images even as Florence was an epicenter of the High Renaissance. On February 7 was held the Bonfire of the Vanities, with “Vanities” including everything from ancient secular manuscripts to cosmetics to mirrors to secular (as contrasted with religious) paintings. As recited in Ivan Cloulas (trans. Gilda Roberts), The Borgias at 134, “His hold over the Florentines was such that on February 7, 1497, on the Piazza della Signoria, he set up the famous ‘bonfire of the vanities,’ on which lascivious paintings, obscene books, lutes, pomades, perfumes, mirrors, dolls, playing cards, gaming tables, and scores of other articles were confined to the flames.” Exactly what was lost cannot be known.
Savonarola would ultimately be excommunicated by Pope Alexander VI and suffered death by hanging in 1498; his body was burnt and the ashes cast into the river. Adding to that insult, his execution took place in the Piazza della Signoria.
Monday, February 3, 2020
February 3 (Not so Much)
Today, February 3, records two important anniversaries. First, it is the anniversary of the adoption, in 1913, of the 16th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Pursuant to that amendment, Congress was empowered to impose an income tax.
Today is as well the anniversary of the plane crash outside of Clear Lake, Iowa in 1959 that took the lives of ￼musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and "The Big Bopper" J. P. Richardson together with pilot Roger Peterson. The event will go on to be immortalized in the song The Day the Music Died.
So far I’m not finding much reason to celebrate this day.