Saturday, April 6, 2013

Weakness for the Past: Medici, Borgia, Michelangelo, and Machiavelli

A Momentary Respite

I have a distinct weakness for the past - though it's not the glamorous (and largely fictitious) past of the early nineteenth century in Hollywood, but rather Florence in a time of violence, beauty, chaos, creativity, horror, and passion.It was a time of my favorite sculptor, Michelangelo; my favorite patriarch, Lorenzo de Medici, the father of modern political thought and a strand of ethics, Machiavelli, and my favorite family, the Borgias. So much was crammed in such a little period of time, and in such a small place as Florence - a place I have never been and yet that I love in absentia. The resurrection of this love in my mind was inspired by a series of posts by Ex Urbe about Machiavelli (Parts I, Ia, II, III, IV, Extra) which re-awoke in me all of the love inspired by my initial exploration of Michelangelo and his art in High School. Love for the Medici family is part and parcel of love of Michelangelo, but I came at the Borgias from another angle - a Japanese angle oddly enough - and fell in love with them, for all of their horror and cruelty, before I realized they were part of the same time I had studied before as a peaceful time of plenty. Machiavelli was a late love, and mostly read because everyone spoke about The Prince as if it was the handbook of horror.

Coming off of Aristotle, Machiavelli was a respite; Aristotle is a philosopher who loathes the period so much that he can't stand using it more than two or three times a page, while Machiavelli's style was simple and concise and with the semi-colon returned to it's place as occasional, rather than continual, punctuation mark (seriously, if you're reading philosophy outside of a class, forget Socrates and Aristotle - Machiavelli is your friend). I fell into his style so easily that it took a while to figure out that much of what he was saying was ethically monstrous to me, if practical and with some solidity of reason. I didn't realize until reading through Ex Urbe's entertaining history of Florence and Machiavelli how tightly all of my favorites fit together, and how deeply tumultuous that period of time was. Even for people who don't like history, I really recommend checking this out; maybe you will join me in the "I love Florence" corner with Machiavelli, drunkenly arguing about whether the Ends justify the Means.

Peeking Dawn

My second ode to Hollywood took me to World's End Garden despite the threat of clash with my deliciously over-the-top feathered accessories from Eclectica. Somehow managing to take showgirl style and turn it into fantastic formal-wear, the second I saw these in a notecard I knew I had to have them. Anyone who has worn clothing with feathers knows that Alpha Occlusion is a real and present danger, but somehow Eclectica has managed to form everything so that issues are relatively minimal and the effect is usually attractive, not awful. I'm honestly not quite sure how she did it; the biggest issues were between my hair and the feathers, where the transparent layers really didn't get along. All of the effects in my pictures are form Second Life, by the way; I know all my pictures say that in the credits, but I want to reiterate - there has been absolutely no photoshopping to clean up the alpha in these pictures. The second Hollywood purchase is this amazing sparkly dress which is available in just about every color imaginable, of which I splurged on three, from Epic. The store name fits the dress. The mesh dress itself is a template, but the texture simply blew me away. I love how the sparkles were achieved, somehow looking authentic without becoming either blotchy or overwhelming. Whether up close or at a distance, the effect remains Epic. I wanted a really simply hairstyle to go with my otherwise extravagant look, so I ended up seeking out Truth and making use of the streaks effects he's added to some of his hairs; I think the two simply purple stripes just finish the look perfectly. The final touch was a somewhat simple but sufficiently Hollywood cosmetics set, and I chose a turquoise color to contrast with the purple stripes in my hair made by my eternal favorite cosmetics store, Mock, complete with a star over one eye.

Broken Carousel in the Mist

( More pictures here. )


Skin: De La Soul, Aestali - Cream Rose
Eyes: De La Soul, RooMee Eyes - Rainbow
Ears: Illusions, Seelie
Eyelashes 1: SLink, Mesh Lashes
Eyelashes 2: Flugeln Brise, 05-A
Cosmetics: Mock, Aos Si Stars Turquoise
Hair: Truth, Maggie w/Roots
Wings: Fancy Fairy, Azarelle
Feathers: Eclectica, Flaunt Feathers & Gloves
Dress: Epic, Mesh Princess Glitter

Poses: Glitterati

Location: World's End Garden
Light Settings: AnaLutetia - AvatarOp
Water Settings: Mirror Glass

Photographed by Deoridhe Quandry
Post processing: Cropping, only

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