The Golden Asses, 1761. Little did they know that the painting would come to reside in crazy America.
Yesterday, while I had the pleasure of a notes call, the wife and son went to the Getty Villa out Mailbu way, and it turns out their current exhibition is about the Society of Dilettanti, 18th-century British dudes who gave our language the word "dilettante," like so:
The Society of Dilettanti was dedicated to "encouraging, at home, a taste for those objects which had contributed to their entertainment abroad." The group's name introduced the word dilettante (from the Italian dilettare, "to delight") into English and celebrated the interests of the amateur. From informal gatherings in Italy to ceremonial meetings in London, the Dilettanti cultivated a sense of kinship and conviviality. Seria ludo (Serious Matters in a Playful Vein), one of the group's principal toasts, expressed its blend of the learned and the lively.To delight! Seria ludo! Ladies and gentlemen, I stand before you today proud to be a dilettante.
(They also had their ribald/pictures of phalluses side, according to my wife, but my son skipped that room to go look at the gardens.)