Category Archives: sculpture

Ancient Imagination: A Roman griffin in the Vatican Museum

Updated with this preamble to the photo: I’ve been fascinated with winged gods, goddesses, monsters, and other creatures, mostly from the pre-Christian era. So I will share several upcoming photos, which will include sculptures and other renderings of pre-Christian gods, goddesses, monsters, and other creatures that look a lot like Christian angels yet originate in pagan classical civilizations.

I’m curious about imagination and how it creates unreal, or at least unseen, things. What is it about the human imagination, or about ancient civilizations, that brought about these winged beings?

Maybe it wasn’t much of a step for the mind to see wings and imagine them on human bodies. Maybe — although it seems very unlikely to me — these creatures exist in some other dimension or some Platonic realm of forms. Whatever the source or sources of winged things, through the course of the past 6 years, my curiosity drove me to take hundreds of photos of ancient and medieval art, sculpture, and architecture in England, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Italy.

A Roman griffin in the Vatican Museum; photo by Colin Foote Burch for Public Work, https://liturgical.wordpress.com .

A Roman griffin in the Vatican Museum, photographed Oct. 10, 2014.

Christ busted

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Ancient imagination: a fierce terracotta beast

Terracotta animal in Mesopotamian/Babylonian collection at the British Museum, Dec. 30, 2009

One of my favorite photos from my visits to the British Museum: A terracotta animal in Mesopotamian/Babylonian collection at the British Museum; photo taken on Dec. 30, 2009.

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Ancient imagination: The Lion of Knidos

Sadie & me in front of the Lion of Knidos, inside the British Museum, Dec. 30, 2009

Sadie & me in front of the Lion of Knidos, inside the British Museum, Dec. 30, 2009

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