Letter to the Editor

Posted

Rare European art exhibition

within an easy drive until Dec. 31 

To the editor,

Having friends in Mineola and surrounding areas, I was telling one about an exceptionally rare European art exhibit that I recently saw at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, titled “Casanova and the Seduction of Europe.” But don’t let that title throw you.

Patrons will be pleasantly surprised to learn that stereotypes about the man are somewhat exaggerated. The man romanced women, but fewer women than the bragging reputation suggests in the sunlight of history.

The man also had “a good side”: Casanova studied to be a Catholic priest, and later became a philosopher, a medic, a Freemason, a Rosicrucian (the good kind, and not the spurious kind), a lawyer, and a concert violinist. He was a personal friend of Wolfgang Mozart, King Frederick the Great and Voltaire. All three of the latter men mentioned belonged to the Masonic Lodge, too. 

He even met England’s King George II and Russia’s Catherine the Great. He jaunted down to Istanbul, Turkey, and died at Dux, Bohemia - now in today’s modern Czech Republic.

I believe everyone in The Lone Star State would be intrigued by the fascinating art, which even included fine sterling silver pieces.

I saw a portrait of Benjamin Franklin, whom Casanova met and spoke with in Paris, France, about hot air ballooning, which reminded me a lot about hot air balloon festivals in Texas - but predating us by two and a half centuries.  Our tour-guide also noted that women wore 'masks' in Venice in the 1750s, it wasn't really to conceal a woman's personal identity, but rather to conceal her "social class." I found that quite interesting.

This is art mixed with history that most Texas kids won’t learn in the classroom. Perhaps the most important element is that this rare art exhibit will depart Texas Dec. 31 and go to two distant cities and that some of the art will go back to Venice, Italy.

I urge Mineola-area readers to not miss this golden opportunity.  It sure beats going to Europe to see it.     It is well worth the day trip.

James A. Marples, Longview

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