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Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Laugh at Yourselves!

As if on cue, the tall, handsome figure of Leonardo wafts elegantly into the room. He pauses at the top of the stairs to sweep his luxurious cape to one side, glances to his right, then left. A mischievous smile flickers, and he turns to approach our little group. 

Da Vinci
Well, well, well. What have we here? You look like one of those groups of old men who gather every day to gossip over coffee.

Velazquez
Welcome Leonardo. I suppose we were gossiping ... Pablo was just giving us his impression of the Biennale. Essentially – please correct me, Pablo – he feels that there is nothing new here, that it has all been done before. Is that a fair summary, Pablo?

Picasso
As far as it goes, yes.

Da Vinci, his smile broadening
Look at you! Look at yourselves! (begins to laugh aloud). You think that the Biennale needs more innovative art? Ha ha ha ha ha. Sour grapes, my friends. You're a bunch of painters, for heaven's sake! You've been left out in the cold with your shrouds of irrelevance, making pronouncements about the art of those in the 'salon.' (Now he is laughing so hard that he has trouble catching his breath, he bends over, and wipes tears from his eyes).

Heads are swivelling as the rest of us begin to take in our little group. Da Vinci's laughter is infectious, and as we all realize how ridiculous our situation is, grins and chuckles erupt until, like a gang of fifteen-year-old boys, we are howling with laughter, slapping each other on backs and knees, and shaking our heads in disbelief.

A distraught guard bounds across the floor wagging a finger, and breathless, delivers a stern scolding:

Guard
Signori, signori! Dovete rispettare la quiete di questo spazio! You must not do this; it is too loud. Please leave now. Andate all'uscita immediatamente. Come, come ... this way. Go now.

Properly chastised, but still snorting and harrumphing, the adolescents make their way past the ticket booth and gift shop, and into the brilliant sunshine that awaits them on the steps outside.






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Historically accurate anecdotes are especially welcome.