Our Roman Holiday, Chapter III: My Daughter, the Art Critic

January 4th, 2012  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized

"He's sad because he wants to wash his hair."

“屁股! 屁股!” shouted Sasha as we wandered through the corridors of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Translation: “Butt! Butt!” Which was kind of also my reaction to the incredible collection of sculptures and busts: what a lot of glorious nudity!

But Sasha’s understanding and interpretation of the classics wasn’t just limited to recognizing bare bottoms. “He’s sad,” Sasha said in front of a statue of Hercules and a centaur, the hero pulling on the beast’s head. She meant the centaur, but why? “Because he [Hercules] wants to wash his hair.” Ah, of course. That makes sense. If it would make Sasha sad, it stands to reason it would sadden a centaur as well.

Elsewhere, Sasha continued looking at classical art from a different point of view. At a statue representing the rape of the Sabine women, Sasha gave the rapist a time out for fighting. Very appropriate, although a T.O. at such a critical juncture might have prevented, or limited, the rise of Rome. As we looked at yet another painting of the Madonna and child, Sasha gave her interpretation: “The baby likes the princess.” Well, yes!

And then we were back to nudity. “He has no clothes on,” she said of Michelangelo’s David. “He needs to peepee.” Perhaps, I thought, although when I have to pee, the expression on my face is usually not so reflective.

The effect that the David, often considered the ultimate expression of Western art, had on Sasha was not just titillating. No, by the time we left, its power and majesty and eloquence had reduced her to tears. At least, I think that’s why she was crying.

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