Saturday, February 13, 2010


"Dear Wilhelm,

Although my life is among Greek and Latin texts of the Teubner series, among the volumes of the Realencyclopädie of Pauly and Wissowa, among the marbles of the Berlin Museum and the papyri of my Seminar library, I have never seen Greek Antiquity so well incarnated as in your Taormina boys. Of Athens ephebes, they have the juvenile grace and indeed the Greek profile, the serenity and the suntanned complexion, and also such a nonchalant way to wear a tunic without covering all their chest.

This new photograph from your studio in the Piazza San Domenico, dear Wilhelm, is a gift that my friend Wolfgang brought back to me from his Grand Tour, Greece and Italy and Sicily, until the Mount Etna slopes.

This portrait makes me dream... This young man so focussed will perhaps enter the Panathenaic procession, walking towards the Acropolis... Or perhaps he is listening to Socrates while he explains that a wise ignorance should be preferred to false knowledge. He could be charmed too by a poet, singing the power of Aphrodite or Achilles' bravery. Or perhaps he is just relaxing, after his training at the gymnasium, after a bath cleaned away sweat and dust from his body ?

Or maybe he is waiting for a friend, for a lover who pays court to him, with words sweet as honey, and who pays hommage to his shining beauty.. ?

Ah, Wilhelm, Wilhelm, I would love so much to leave the world of my library and to enter the world of your photographs...

I would love to be the special one this lad is waiting for...

Your friend,

Friedrich von W.

Von Gloeden Archive, Letter from Friedrich von W. to W. von Gloeden, 12.03.1904, call number: 1904/03/12/05.

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