May 12, 2009

The Greatest Cocktail Party in History

Discussing the Divine Comedy with Dante, 2006 by Dai Dudu, Li Tiezi, and Zhang An(Detail)

Art meets Knowledge. This is the sort of intellectual apotheosis only possible with the web. It's one of those things that makes you stop and admire the endless creativity of people in all walks of life. Three Chinese artists create a painting incorporating many of history's most interesting and influential people. A bit later someone on the Web combines the image with links to the Wikipedia entries for each person he can identify and off it goes. In only a glance you get the concept and think, "Imagine the conversations at that house party."

In his seminal work, "Aspects of the Novel," E.M. Forster offers the compelling image of all the great novelists in English writing, not each in their proper time, but "as seated together in a room, a circular room, a sort of British Museum reading-room — all writing their novels simultaneously." We see much the same sort of thing here, with the advantage of being able to fill ourselves in on the people represented.

If you haven't seen it yet, you owe it to yourself to spend some time with: Famous People Painting with Wiki Links | Historical Figures With Image Mapping (Painting by Dai Dudu, Li Tiezi, and Zhang An, 2006, oil on canvas - Image mapping with titles and wikipedia links) Background on the painting itself @ China News: 103 Famous Faces in One Painting

Posted by Vanderleun at May 12, 2009 1:34 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

So many republicans, conservatives or whatever claimed to support the troops and it turned out they didn't give a shit.

"Fifteen-month tours and repeated deployments are increasing the rate of suicide, divorce, and psychological problems, according to Pentagon data."
--Soldier rampage hints at stress of repeated deployments

Maybe you should step up and write something important.

Posted by: Gus at May 12, 2009 11:14 PM


Maybe you forgot. They signed up willingly for an incredibly tough and miserable job. No-one forced them--unlike the way they do in many of the countries you no doubt idolize more than your own.

Posted by: MarkH at May 13, 2009 7:12 AM

Where is Adolf, to keep the company of Joe and Mao?
Socrates would stay to the last moment, to learn what happened to the civilization he started; and Shakespeare to do his own portrait of histories special monsters.
But I don't think it would be a meeting remembered fondly or productively. Birds of prey and birds of paradise do not flock together.

Posted by: james wilson at May 13, 2009 9:02 AM

Do your always inflate your airbags before you comment? If not, you should.

Posted by: vanderleun at May 13, 2009 9:35 AM

JW-- Click the link and look at the whole painting. You'll find Adolf toward the left-hand side.

Posted by: Connecticut Yankee at May 13, 2009 10:12 AM

What I find interesting about this painting is the cultural mash-up going on. The artists know their own (Chinese) culture and include several Chinese historical figures, but it is obvious that they are aware of a great deal of Western culture from the figures they included.

Gus' troll-fu is pretty weak.

Posted by: Eric Blair at May 16, 2009 6:24 PM