Monday, August 10, 2009

Victor Noir

The mayor of the village of Arodes on Cyprus, Greece, has called in the island's antiquities department to determine how best to preserve and protect the tomb of Saint Agapitikos. The saint's name means "lover" and dust from the tomb is believed to attract the objet d'amour if mixed in a potion. The story, featured in the weird news, reports that so much of the stone has been taken away by the lovelorn that 1/4 of the monument is missing! I could not find a single image of the tomb in question, but did recall seeing (but not touching) the shiny crotch of Victor Noir (1848-1870) on his tomb sculpture in Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris. When I found the photograph of him, I learned that Noir was famous in death for another reason. "Victor Noir" was the pen name of French journalist Yvan Salmon, who worked for La Marseillaise. That newspaper sided with another against the actions of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821). Prince Pierre, great nephew of Napoleon I and cousin of reigning Napoleon III demanded a duel to clear his family's name. Noir was sent to fix the terms, and the offended prince slapped him and shot him dead. The acquittal of the prince provoked a huge public outcry and 100,000 protesters accompanied Noir's funeral procession to the cemetery. The sculpture portrays Noir realistically, as if he had just fallen in the street. Women who hope for love or fertility place a flower in the upturned tophat, kiss the statue's lips, and give him a rub. Other statues with anatomical parts that are stroked for luck include Juliet's breasts in Verona, Italy, and Lincoln's nose on the bust outside his tomb in Springfield, Illinois (I have touched that one more than once!).

No comments:

Post a Comment

You may add your comments here.