Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Aide Memoire




Aide Memoire

Nicola Porpora (1686-1768), Antonio Caldara (c. 1670-1736), Francesco Araia (1709-1770), Carl Heinrich Graun (c. 1703-1759), Leonardo Leo (1694-1744), Leonardo Vinci (1696-1730), Riccardo Broschi (c. 1658-1756) and Geminiano Giacomello (c. 1692- 1740).

"Symposia were usually held in the andr┼Źn, the men's quarters of the household. The participants would recline on pillowed couches arrayed against the three walls of the room away from the door. Due to space limitations the couches would number between seven and nine, limiting the total number of participants to somewhere between fourteen and twenty seven. If any free boys took part they did not recline but sat up. Food was served, together with wine. The latter, usually mixed with water in varying proportions, was drawn from the krater, a large jar designed to be carried by two men, and served by nude servant boys from pitchers.

For example the most famous symposium of all, the one immortalised by Plato, was being hosted by the poet Agathon on the occasion of his first victory at the theater contest of the 416 BC Dionysia, but was upstaged by the unexpected entrance of the toast of the town, the young Alcibiades dropping in almost totally drunk and almost totally naked, having just left another symposium."

Pan -- whatever happened to your Alcibiades opera?

Photo credits: Both images copyright controlled. All rights reserved.

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Man Ray at the Phillips Collection

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