Sunday, December 4, 2011

Niccolò Paganini

About 100 years ago, George was born the lone child of a father and mother who are long gone. As a youngster, George lived out his life in a pretty desolate place known as Pinta. Each day, he'd wake and slowly make his way around the rocky terrain in search of sustenance. Each night, he would bed down alone inside his small abode and dream of what could be.

Several years had gone by when George was awakened one day by the unfamiliar sounds of new neighbors. Boorish and abrasive, the new family to take up residency was clearly not what George was accustomed to. For him, each day was filled with friendly, sparse encounters with the few others that lived in the same area each living their lives in harmony, in unison, and without interruption. But the new family to take up a home in George's otherwise quiet world were less-than welcome. Sadly, over time the small brood had increased in kinship making George's small but spread out place of living far too uncomfortable and overcrowded. In fact, things got so bad and due to George's elderly age, he had to be assisted in finding a new home where he could continue to live peacefully with all the necessities.

George took on quite a bit of fame in the 1970s thanks to his unique life and story and after being discovered by a foreign scientist doing local research. His solitary upbringing, ability to survive on his own for nearly his entire life, and learning that he was the last of his family's lineage, George was greeted by many well-doers. Each person seemed genuine and sought ways to make what was left of his existence as enjoyable as possible all the while exploiting the ramifications of who he was so others could feel compelled to get involved. George and others like him should never be forgotten in such a large world filled with those who had or have a similar background. And while efforts to introduce George to a mate so his family name could live on have failed, there is still a glimmer of hope it is not too late.

Niccolò Paganini by Jean-Pierre Dantan is the plaster sculpture of an Italian violin virtuoso by the same name. Using his incredibly unique and expressive style, Dantan has created one of the hallmarks of his very bright and idyllic career. Not far from the reality of who Paganini was and how he played, the piece displays a man paying extremely close attention to his craft.

Externally, we're presented with a piece that shows a man with his hips askew and arms awkwardly pulled in as he seemingly reaches the crescendo of his music. Internally, we're able to notice not just a man playing an instrument but a man wholly focused on something that is truly a passion. Dantan's use of simple materials void of color show that the work itself is not meant to be expressive but the motion, the moment, and the emotions evoked. Purposefully, the piece was masterfully created in order to ensure who Paganini was as an violinist and how Paganini sacrificed his entire life for his work are intricately represented.

In real life, Paganini was not much unlike our friend, George. He lived a life of pure focus upon the one thing he felt gave him purpose while garnering his fair share of fame. Ultimately, though, Paganini passed away leaving very little to speak of behind. And like George, Paganini forged through his existence as someone who should have been much more well known and successful but apparently destined for nothing more than having controversy surround his legacy.

Who is George, you might be wondering? He's the last known species of tortoise that are indigenous to Pinta Island in the Galápagos. At approximately 100 years old, no other living species of George's kind have been found and hopes to avert extinction have been fruitless. In kind, how does George relate to Paganini? As one of the most beloved and vivid violinists of his time and at the height of his fame, Paganini reached the end of his life with no money, alone, and his idiomatic talent all but forgotten. On a symbolic road of destiny that could not be manipulated or influenced, both George and Paganini trudged through their lives focused not on what made them each special, but on what each most desired.

When the day comes that George passes away, the lack of similarities between a tortoise and a man will eventually fade. Though I suppose it has already begun considering the predicated comparison I've just shared. All boasting aside, however, the one thing that cannot be argued is the reality of some individuals who seem destined for a life of solitude. Completely engrossed in their dreams and passions, these folks endure years of loneliness despite having direct and sometimes infamous connections with others. Rightfully expressed in a song entitled, Misread Lyrics by Kings of Convenience, "All throughout history the loneliest people were the ones who always spoke the truth; the ones who made a difference by withstanding the indifference." The unfortunately truth is that indifference will be everlasting.

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