Friday, December 09, 2016

Laocoön and His Sons at Disneyland

This sculpture has been something that has caught my eye each time I have visited Club 33. Residing in the main dining room, "Laocoön and His Sons" is not something that you just look at casually. The look of agony on Laocoön's face begs to be noticed. This is the first photo I took of it back in September 2007. Little did I know that nine years later I would have a very interesting story to piece together.

Flash forward to my most recent dinner at the Club, and our wonderful waitress Angela told us the backstory. The original statue was unearthed in Rome in 1506 and then placed on public display in the Vatican, where it still resides today. When it was excavated, there were a number of pieces missing from the statue. Angela told us that both Raphael and Michelangelo created what they thought his missing arms might look like, but that Michelangelo's interpretation won out.

At this point, my memory started humming. I remembered that I had seen another copy of this statue somewhere. Sure enough, just one month before I had seen it in Savannah at the Telfair Museum.

Carl Brandt, the Telfair's first director, traveled to Europe in 1883 to purchase works of art for the museum's collection. While there, he commissioned this plaster cast of the Roman sculpture dating from early in the first century AD. A vintage Telfair publication describes it:

"As priest of Apollo, Laocoön was commissioned by the Trojans to offer a bullock to Neptune. During the sacrifice two enormous serpents issued from the sea and attached his two sons, who stood next to the altar. The father attempted to defend his sons, but the serpents falling upon him, he died in greatest agony from their venomous bites."

I had also photographed it in Savannah back in March 2007, just 6 months before my photo at Club 33 was shot.

My brain continued to engage; if the original was in Rome at the Vatican, I wondered if I had seen it when I visited Rome back in 2004.

BINGO! From September 2004:

From Rome, to Savannah, to Club 33. The circle is complete!

More Daveland photos and fun at my main website.

1 comment:

Fifthrider said...

How interesting that Michelangelo's interpretation forsakes the position of that original arm. It's like he had the right piece for reference but then decided to give it his own spin, anyways.

What a great find and a rich backstory. Others might have published Angela's blurb about it, but only you would have known about ( and seen in person ) the pieces in Savannah and the Vatican. Disney archivist Dave Smith doesn't even have detailed info and references like this.