Haller smiled apologetically. “When you reach my age you sometimes think of the approach of death. I thought this afternoon how much I would have liked to have seen the Parthenon just once more. I doubt if I shall have another opportunity of doing so. I used to spend hours standing in the shade by the Propylæa looking at it and trying to understand the men who built it. I was young then and did not know how difficult it is for Western man to understand the dream heavy classical soul. They are so far apart. The god of superlative shape has been replaced by the god of superlative force and between the two conceptions there is all space. The destiny idea symbolised by the Doric columns is incomprehensible to the children of Faust. For us . . .” He broke off. “Excuse me. I see we have another passenger. I suppose he is to sit here.”
Note: I don’t know. Painted BMW “art” race car aside (static, sclerotic junk), it is difficult to see the god of superlative force in Jeff Koons’ work. That being said, its enfeebled nature has had the power to enrage me from the moment I first set eyes on it all those years ago.
Text: Eric Ambler, Journey Into Fear (1940).
Top: Frederick Edwin Church, Parthenon (1871).
Next: Jeff Koons, Woman in Tub (1988); Magenta Swan (2004-11); BMW "Art Car" (2010).