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December 23, 2006 8:23 PM   Subscribe

The art of Flavio Constantini. Naval officer turned anarchist Constantini (1926- ) paints rebels, martyrs, assassins, writers, and architecture, all with a special quality of light.
posted by Abiezer (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Fascinated by structures, Genoa, his chosen home base, provided him with an antidote to what had been for Costantini the Kafkaesque nightmare of New York.

Ah, poor Kafka. Few descriptive terms are as misused as the term "Kafkaesque". And it's odd that for Costantini's portrait of ol' Franz, he included a beetle, and not a cockroach. Costantini obviously uses lots of appropriated images for his art, so I guess he just maybe couldn't find a decent roach to cut and paste? Or doesn't know the difference?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:48 AM on December 24, 2006

He included a beetle, not a cockroach
Ooh, Nabokov wouldn't like that.
posted by jouke at 1:54 AM on December 24, 2006

To elaborate on jouke's remark, for those who don't feel like searching through the linked lecture:
Commentators say cockroach, which of course does not make sense. A cockroach is an insect that is flat in shape with large legs, and Gregor is anything but flat: he is convex on both sides, belly and back, and his legs are small. He approaches a cockroach in only one respect: his coloration is brown. That is all. Apart from this he has a tremendous convex belly divided into segments and a hard rounded back suggestive of wing cases. In beetles these cases conceal flimsy little wings that can be expanded and then may carry the beetle for miles and miles in a blundering flight. Curiously enough, Gregor the beetle never found out that he had wings under the hard covering of his back... Further, he has strong mandibles. He uses these organs to turn the key in a lock while standing erect on his hind legs, on his third pair of legs (a strong little pair), and this gives us the length of his body, which is about three feet long. In the course of the story he gets gradually accustomed to using his new appendages—his feet, his feelers. This brown, convex, dog-sized beetle is very broad. [Emphasis added.]
(In German he's simply called an Ungeziefer, 'vermin.')
posted by languagehat at 6:35 AM on December 24, 2006

Okay, okay, I bow to Nabokov, who was apparently an entomologist as well as a fine scribbler. So he wasn't a cockroach. So he was a beetle. Okay.

BUT... beetles seem to me to be rather noble creatures compared to the cockroach. They are not as lowly a vermin as the cockroach. Therefore, in my mind's eye and imagination, Gregor's transformation shall always be into cockroach. So there, Vladimir Nabokov. You can't take that away from me.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:51 AM on December 24, 2006

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