Grannymar, in her post : Barrel Of Memories had inserted a picture of a statue and elaborated on that. In my comment on that post, I had asked her what her take was on the statue that is part of the mast of my blog. Grannymar, being Grannymar said – “As for the man on your header… Did his wife lock him out without his clothes? Seriously I wondered what the history was behind it. Perhaps you will write about it someday.”
I had promised her then that I would indeed write about it and this is making good that promise and I dedicate this post to that indomitable lady with fifty toyboys. I sincerely hope that at least some of them are as robust as the Thinker on my mast.
The name for my blog came to me all of a sudden. I was contemplating what to call it for a long time, while I was blogging desultorily under more conventional names in two social networks. I kept being told by various people that I should have my own domain name and a brand which will make the blog unique and I got down to find out the economics of getting that organized. Once I found that I could afford to have my own domain name, the next step was to brand it. This is where, I got bogged down. There were many names that I thought up, only to discard after mulling over them.
Finally, when I was about to give up and just call it Ramana’s Reflections, I got a call from a friend of mine who was my drinking buddy way back when I used to drink. This was about half a century ago and both the friend and I were struggling salesmen who could only afford Rum which was then the cheapest drink sold in bars. Cheaper of course, was the illicit liquor called Gudamba, which is the local equivalent of Moonshine of the USA. We used to imbibe that too on need! For many years thereafter, Rum was my drink of choice and my already short name got further shortened by well meaning friends to Rummy. It helped that I used to play Rummy too.
My friend who is now an American citizen, when informed about my difficulty with the branding of my blog promptly suggested that I call it Rummy’s Ruminations. (He retired as a Senior Marketing honcho for a large American corporation and was full of ideas like these!) My friend’s wife, another very good friend, shot it down immediately as being suggestive of Rummy’s ruinations.
It was after this call and while I was still thinking about it, that I had my Eureka moment and got the inspiration Rum short for Ramana as well as for my nickname Rummy and muser for the guys prone to musing, merged to form Rummuser. Simultaneously, I also got the idea of putting in the image of the nude sitting man as I knew that the statue was called The Thinker by Auguste Rodin and I had seen the original in Paris many years ago. I just knew that I had to incorporate that in the mast as well.
Now to answer the more important question about his nudity and the possible reason for it, I leave it to the experts to explain.
“The Thinker was originally meant to be Dante in front of the Gates of Hell, pondering his great poem. Dante as a voluptuous naked male may seem absurd to those who think of the images painted in his time and after, but Dante’s head does bear some resemblance to the profile of The Thinker. Moreover, Dante’s headdress is distinctive and seems to be indicated by the markings Rodin made on his working copy of The Thinker.
Why is The Thinker naked? Because Rodin wanted a heroic figure à la Michelangelo to represent Thinking as well as Poetry.
Rodin himself wrote about his intention:
The Thinker has a story. In the days long gone by I conceived the idea of the Gates of Hell. Before the door, seated on the rock, Dante thinking of the plan of the poem behind him… all the characters from the Divine Comedy. This project was not realized. Thin ascetic Dante in his straight robe separated from all the rest would have been without meaning. Guided by my first inspiration I conceived another thinker, a naked man, seated on a rock, his fist against his teeth, he dreams. The fertile thought slowly elaborates itself within his brain. He is no longer a dreamer, he is a creator.
The work of Rodin resonates with the great aspirations of the 19th century, the century of Darwin, Marx and Wagner. But in his equation, The Thinker = the Poet = the Creator, Rodin was way ahead of his time. The greatest German Philosopher of the 20th century, Martin Heidegger, only began to formulate this equation in the 1930’s in such works as “The Thinker as Poet”, “What are Poets For?” and “…Man Dwells Poetically”. Now it is a commonplace of humanities departments, repeated endlessly by such luminaries as Derrida, Lyotard, Richard Rorty and their followers.”
I hope that my posts will be saved for posterity and some experts some time in the future will also say that I was way ahead of my time. What do you think are the chances?