“The so-called 'Left-Hand Path' - that of Kaulas, Siddhas and Viras - combines the... Tantric worldview with a doctrine of the Übermensch which would put Nietzsche to shame... The Vira - which is to say: the 'heroic' man of Tantrism - seeks to sever all bonds, to overcome all duality between good and evil, honor and shame, virtue and guilt. Tantrism is the supreme path of the absolute absence of law - of shvecchacarī, a word meaning 'he whose law is his own will'." ― Julius Evola, The Path of Cinnabar.

“It is necessary to have “watchers” at hand who will bear witness to the values of Tradition in ever more uncompromising and firm ways, as the anti-traditional forces grow in strength. Even though these values cannot be achieved, it does not mean that they amount to mere “ideas.” These are measures…. Let people of our time talk about these things with condescension as if they were anachronistic and anti-historical; we know that this is an alibi for their defeat. Let us leave modern men to their “truths” and let us only be concerned about one thing: to keep standing amid a world of ruins.” ― Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga.

“We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who died at his post during the eruption of Vesuvius because someone forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one that can not be taken from a man.” ― Oswald Spengler, Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mercenary Love

A Young woman standing at a table with an old and a young man; on the table a set of backgammon, playing cards, a lute, fruit and a goblet, below a large skull and bones with inscribed banderole.

Urs Graf was a prolific printmaker, producing mainly designs for book illustrations. His single-leaf prints are remarkable for their inventive treatment of various subjects often to do with the relations between the sexes. During his life, Graf was frequently in trouble with the authorities in Basel for various offences, including beating his wife. His drawings are often satirical attacks against women. The theme of mercenary love, where young women marry or exchange sexual favours for money, was very popular during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Here an old man gropes a young girl and as payment she takes money from his sack to give to the young man at her side. This is the only known impression of this print.

The subject of mercenary or unequal love, where young women or men marry or exchange favours for money with counterparts of a much greater age, is a traditional subject in north European art of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and was represented in works by Lucas Cranach, Niklaus Manuel Deutsch and Hans Baldung. In printmaking, it was popularised by the widespread distribution of two companion engravings of unequal pairs of lovers of c. 1480-90 by Israhel van Meckenem, which were copied after two rare drypoints of c. 1475-80 by the Master of the Housebook. these earlier prints display banderoles for the purpose of adding dialogue or proverbs which emphasise the moralising intention of the subject.

This is the only recorded impression of the woodcut and was first published by Parker in 1922. It is likely that the print was originally issued in a large edition and had a practical function such as wall decoration, which means that most impressions would have become quickly worn. The survival of a panel of tapestry, dated 1565, on which the composition is freely copied, possibly from an intermediary source, confirms the popularity of the design well into the sixteenth century.
For further information on the subject of this print, see Alison G. Stewart, 'Unequal Lovers: A Study of Unequal Couples in Northern Art', New York, 1978.