"I have held up a light in the obscurity of Philosophy, which will be seen centuries after I am dead. It will be seen amidst the erection of Tombs, Theatres, Foundations, Temples, Orders and Fraternities for nobility and obedience — the establishment of good laws as an example to the World. For I am not raising a Capitol or Pyramid to the Pride of men, but laying a foundation in the human understanding for a holy Temple after he model of the World. For my memory I leave it to Men's charitable speeches, to foreign Nations and the next Ages, and to my own Country after some Time has elapsed." -- Francis Bacon, Advancement of Learning (1605), Bk II.

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Join me to explore the hidden tenets of arranged alignments of architecture and art. Structures as diverse as the Great Pyramid, Baalbek, The Tower of the Winds, Hagia Sopia, Basilica San Vitale, The Dome of the Rock, St. Peter's Square, Gisors, The Newport Tower, Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest, and the Georgia Guidestones all may have a common origin.

Three reproductions of the Tower of the Winds in England help to display how this age old value is viewed through time. Along the way many legends and myths associated with the Holy Grail and other relics are examined.

Treasure myths such as the Oak Island Legend and The Beale Treasure Legend may have a common origin and hidden meaning. The tale of The Bruton Parish Church Vault (a.k.a. "Bacon's Vault) may also be a copy of an already existent mystery at Stirling Castle.


Mary Magdalene, Arcadia, and the Art Collection of Thomas Jefferson

The Revelations of Thomas Jefferson’s Art Collection

35. A Magdalen Penitent. sitting, her hair disheveled, her eyes looking up to heaven, a book in her right hand, & the left resting on a skull a 3/4 length of full size on Canvas, copied from Joseph de Ribera, called Espagnolet, purchased from St. Severin's collection. Catal. No. 59

During the era of Thomas Jefferson it is clear that metaphors from classic works were employed as a coded or metaphorical way to communicate ones philosophies and beliefs to others without the utterance of a single word. These concepts are laid bare by period authors such as Emanuel Swedenborg and later by the mysterious writer known only as “Fulcanelli.” Swedenborg refers specifically to the use of metaphor suggested by Greek mythology and its application to contemporary political and intelligence gathering uses during the era just after the life of Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson was obviously involved in and very talented at the use of intelligence gathering techniques and his armory of skills in this realm likely included the implementation and manipulation of occult themes and philosophies. We have already examined the possibilities of how University of Virginia student associate of Jefferson, Edgar Allan Poe, may have propagated the use of techniques that may have even been taught to him in part by Jefferson when he was a student at the University of Virginia. At that time it may be of interest to note that Poe’s roommate was the cousin of Robert E. Lee Zacheus Lee. The possibility of how Jefferson even used his architectural designs to communicate these ideas via pertinent directions suggested by the structure. In the case of many other examples of architecture there may be elements of each structure including statuary and decorative aspects that may communicate classic and themes that may even in turn be interpreted in biblical or secret society terms.

One classic example of how a classic Greek and Roman myth may be applied to a biblical or secret society theme is the use of Medusa’s head as a metaphor. It is easy to speculate that if a person displays a value of a severed head in a classical motif that this could be a reference to John The Baptist as valued by the Knights of St. John and The Knights Templar for instance. Later in Virginia the severed head motif may have also gained a Cavalier association as a reference and value of King Charles I who was dethroned and lost his head in part because of his Catholic faith.
Thomas Jefferson in fact owned several pieces of artwork that displayed this very concept. As we may see he also owned several other items of art that may belay his true philosophies in an interpretive manner. An examination of he list below may compel one towards a great deal of speculation as to the beliefs of the President given the artwork that he seemed to value. It is clear that his value of Christ, John the Baptist, and even Mary Magdalene were important to him.
The most controversial pieces that Jefferson owned were copies of classic originals that he obtained during his time in France as minister and later Secretary of State. The Ribera work “A Magdalen Pentinent,” a bust of John the Baptist, and a copy of Herodiade bearing the head of St. John on a platter, may be pointed to as showing some of Jefferson’s secret values. The fact that he owned these works does not display the degree to which he held and applied these beliefs in his everyday life but do display enough of a value that he would have cared to obtain copies of these paintings displaying these themes. 

Before we make our final analysis as to whether Thomas Jefferson was a follower of Mary Magdalene and John the Baptist let us also examine the iconography of Jesus Christ displayed in Jefferson’s collection. These works include a bust of Christ clothed in Byzantine royal Purple robes just as we see on his mosaic at Basilica San Vitale in Ravenna Italy. An unknown artist displaying Jesus arguing with the doctors while dressed in royal garb repeats this royal theme in an additional piece. A copy of Valintin’s painting showing Jesus driving the moneychangers from the Temple is present. Jesus in the Praetorium displays him stripped of his royal accouterment and now wearing a crown of thorns prior to the Crucifixion. 

If we were to interpret the themes of these paintings as being representative of the spiritual beliefs of Thomas Jefferson then what conclusions could we come to? The theme of each piece seems to represent Jesus as a royal figure who fell from grace after upsetting the bankers. These paintings are sending us a message that somehow Jefferson believed Christ was of Royal Byzantine blood and had somehow fell into disfavor by the status quo of his age. Is this somehow actually true? There are many hints and metaphors that Byzantine Rulers, The Merovingian Dynasty and Charlemagne may have all believed that Constantine himself was of the same line of Christ thus identifying Jesus as Royalty. It is possible that when viewed in metaphor that this series of paintings is telling us what the President truly believed. 

Jefferson’s value of Constantine may have been displayed in this design of three octagonal structures at Poplar Forest, Monticello, and Barboursville Mansion. His art collection also included a piece that referred directly to the name applied to Constantine’s Palace in Constantinople. All Byzantine rulers until after Justinian II would use an octagonal portion of the Daphne Palace as their personal domain. The palace itself refers to the myth of Daphne and how she was turned into a laurel tree just as Apollo was preparing to rape her. The value of Daphne extends to the royal overtones of the meaning of the Laurel tree and its use as crowns for victors in sporting and martial activities. Given Jefferson’s penchant for octagonal structures and classic themes that convey a message it is then no surprise that he owned a copy of the The Rape of Daphne by an unknown artist that displays the moment Daphne was turned into a laurel tree. 

All of Jefferson’s artwork seems to conform to many of the theories and values that I have speculated he held prior to examining his taste in art. This story was told by his architecture and is now backed up via a metaphorical interpretation of the artwork that he valued and owned at Monticello. Many of the classic themes include references to severed heads thus again hinting at a value of Arcadia and the Pole Star as valued at many of the octagonal towers that were built in this tradition. Here again a value of Charles I or the “Cavaliers” on the part of Thomas Jefferson involved the use of many of the same metaphors and mythological references that would later help to solve this mystery via their inclusion at Rennes le Chateau, the Shepherd’s Monument of Shugborough, and Admiral Anson’s Moor Park estate. 

Both Shugborough and Moor Park included reproductions of the octagonal Tower of the Winds in Athens just like the Powder Magazine in Colonial Williamsburg that likely served as the source for Jefferson’s initiation into these mysteries. Here laid bare in Jefferson’s artwork are his thoughts on Christianity and his Jacobite sympathies. Also obvious is a distinct rejection of the status quo and the Catholic Church if not organized religion as a whole. At the same time this philosophy used many of the same symbols valued by the Catholic Church that would later become to be associated with Freemasonry such as the All Seeing Eye, Phoenix, Auspice of Mary symbol, and the Chi Rho.

This would be one interpretation. Also inferred along with this alternate view of Christ would be representations of John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene. All of the symbols associated with these themes are present on the Archer Reliquary from Jamestown, the logo of the College of William and Mary, the Kensington Rune, The Rennes le Chateau Mystery and Chateau Abbadia of Antoine d’Abbadie in Hendaye France. These are all places discussed in detail as having been associated with people very similar to Thomas Jefferson in character, intellect, status, and education.

All of these assumptions may be bolstered by Jefferson’s book entitled “The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.” This work is often mistitled “The Jefferson Bible.” This book is a compilation by Jefferson of all the admirable deeds of Christ that did not involve any miracles. Many conservative Christians point to the existence of this book as a sign that Jefferson was indeed a devout Christian. In many ways the book does point to Jefferson’s Christian values which seem to be firmly seated in a practical if not somewhat gnostic view of Jesus Christ as a man with a powerful legacy that had set out to create a version of his faith that was more pure and not interfered with by the political mores of royalty and society of the day. Jefferson’s authorship of this book supports the view in metaphor that is communicated by the artwork that he owned.

It is also clear that Jefferson’s beliefs would have excluded him from the belief that Christ rose from the tomb after three days. This event and many others was not included in his version of the Bible that did not include difficult to believe stories of miracles as a kind of Machina aux deus. It appears that Jefferson may have gained an appreciation for the concept of a bloodline of Jesus having continued in Europe. Also displayed is a value of John the Baptist as teacher of Christ and Mary Magdalene who may have propagated the actual blood of Jesus via their children. All of this in turn would be later applied in metaphor to the Cavalier culture of early Virginia that displayed a distinct value and allegiance to both Kings Charles who were at opposition to the Parliament and later Hanoverian Monarchs of England. The roots of how the Jacobite movement created the United States of America is plainly evident in the art collection of the Third President. Here also displayed is a rationale as to why the symbols of “AVM” or the Auspice of Mary may have been valued and secretly applied to Mary Magdalene. Jefferson’s art collection is conspicuously void of any reference to Our Lady also known as Mary Mother of Christ. 

The theme of the severed head is stressed in several different pieces including a rendering of David holding the head of Goliath. This repeats the suggestion of the severed head in the Poussin Painting rendering at Shugborough and the representation of the beheaded Argus included at Anson’s additional estate Moor Park. Again the theme of Arcadia both references the Pole Star and the suggestion of a value of individuals whose actions and beliefs resulted in their heads being severed from their bodies. This traditional value begins with John the Baptist and continues during the eras surrounding Jefferson in the form of Charles I, Mary Queen of Scotts, Charles’ bastard son James Scott and others. 

The rebels and alternate thinkers were commonly beheaded or burned at the stake during this era and many of the metaphors values by those who followed their philosophy included depictions of the severed head in one form or another. This icon may have taken the form of Medusa or Argus in any “secret” representations of this concept. Two arrays of artwork valued by Admiral Anson include depictions of Argus (Moor Park) and The Triumphal Arch of Shugborough Hall. 

It may be that the Poussin imagery of the Shepherd’s Monument is referring to the severed head of Charles I which may be what is inside the reliquary depicted atop the tomb in the rendering of “The Shepherds of Arcadia” that is included on the Shepherd’s Monument. The only variation from the Poussin work at the Shepherds monument is the inclusion of a strange small casket representative of a reliquary that may hold the head of Charles I or May Queen of Scots. A more remote possibility is that it contains the head of Charles’ son James Scott. 

Here is a list of the artwork that was once present at Monticello:

1. An Ecce homo. a bust of Jesus of about 2/3 the natural [scale 1]/ on canvas. he is clothed with a robe of purple, & a crown of thorns/ on his head. copied from Guido.

2. A bust of St. Jerom in meditation, his head reclined on/ his right hand, and a book in his left. of full size, on Canvas. copied from Goltzius.
3. Jesus driving the money changers out of the temple. 7. [fi-]/ -gures of full length, & about half the natural module, the [sub-]/ -ject Matthew 21.12. on Canvas. copied from Valentin.
4. St. Peter weeping. his hands are pressed together, and nea[r]/ him the cock shews it was in the moment of Matthew 26.75/ 'and Peter remembered the words of Jesus, which said unto h[im]/ before the cock crow thou shalt deny me thrice. and he went out & wept bitterly'. a half length figure of full size, on/ Canvas, copied from Carlo Lotti. purchased from St. Severin's collection. Catalogue No. 36.
5. John Baptist, a bust of the natural size. the right hand/ pointing to heaven, the left, deeply shaded, is scarcely seen/ pressing his breast, which is covered by his hair flowing/ thickly over it. it is seen almost in full face. on canvas/ copied from Leonardo da Vinci.
6. Jesus among the Doctors, & disputing with them. the subject Luke 3.[2.]46. his right hand pointing to heaven, the left pressing his breast the drapery blue & purple, the hair flowing loose. a half length figure of full size, seen in profile, on Canvas.
7. St. Joseph the husband of Mary the mother of Jesus. a 3/4 length of full size on Canvas. a book is laying open before him. His hands interlocked with energy, his head & eyes turned up/ to heaven, & his mouth open, as in the act of fervent prayer.
8. Jesus in the Praetorium, stripped of the purple, as yet naked & with the crown of thorns on his head. he is sitting. a whole length figure of about 4 feet. The persons present seem to be one of his revilers, one of his followers, & the superintendent of the execution. The subject from Mark 15.16.-20. An original on wood, by Malbodius.
9. David with the head of Goliah, copied on canvas from/ Guido, who has given his own picture in the person of/ David. a whole length of 2.f.6.I.
10. The sacrifice of Isaac. he is placed on the pile, on his knees,/ his wrists bound, Abraham with his left hand grasping/ the back of his neck, a naked sworn [sic] in his right, uplifted & ready to strike the fatal stroke. in that instant an Angel/ hovering above him, stays his hand, and Abraham looks/ up with distraction to see by what power his his [sic] hand is witheld in a bush on the right hand is seen the ram the figures are whole length: that of Abraham on a scale/ of not quite half the natural size. on canvas, an original the subject Gen. 22.
11. Jesus before Pilate. the subject Mark 27.27.28.[Matthew 27] on canvas, copied from Pordononi.
12.&15. Two busts of Indian figures, male & female by Indians, in hard stone. 18.I. high. they were dug up at a place called Palmyra, on the Tennissee.
13. A bust of Turgot in plaster, by Houdon. [6]
14. A bust of Voltaire in plaster, by Houdon. [5]
16. A facsimile of the largest of the Pyramids of Egypt, called Cheops.
17. A Cleopatra in Marble. (actually Ariande see below)[*see this corrected pa. 11.] an Indian painting of a battle between the Panis & Osages, on a buffalo pelt. an Indian map of the Southern waters of the Missouri, by a Ricara chief on a buffalo pelt.

Parlour. Upper tier.
18. Lord Bacon. [c.]
19. Sr. Isaac Newton.
20. John Locke[b]
[Mr. Trumbull (the painter) procured these co-/-pies [numbers 18,19, 20] for Th. J from originals in England]
21. Doctor Franklin. an original drawn for the Abbe Very by Greusz. [d]
22. Herodiade bearing the head of St. John on a platter. a 3/4 length of full size on canvas, copied from Simon Vouett, purchased from St. Severin's collection, Catal. No. 248. The subject Matt. 14.11.Mark. 6.2.8 [28].
23. Democritus & Heraclitus, or the laughing & weeping philosophers, the former smiling, the latter railing, at the follies/ of mankind. the figures are 3/4 lengths, larger than life. on canvas. an Original. purchased from the collection of St. Severin. Catal. No. 215.
24. Christopher Columbus [a]
25. Americus Vesputius. [a]
26. Ferdinand Magellan.
27. Fernando Cortez.
[Copied from Originals in the gallery of Medicis, for Th. J. [24,25,26,27]]
28. Sir Walter Raleigh. A copy from an Original of Holben.
29. La Fayette. original done in 1789 for Th. J.
30. James Madison an original by Pine taken in 1790. [d]
32. John Adams. an original by Brown taken in London in 1785. [d]
33. George Washington an original by Wright taken in Philada in 1784. [d]
34. The Prodigal son. he is in rags, kneeling at the feet of his/ father, who extends his hands to raise him the mother and sister appear shocked at his condition, but the elder son views/ him with indignation the figures of full size on Canvas purchased from St. Severin's collection. Catal. 306. an Original.
[page 4]
35. A Magdalen Penitent. sitting, her hair disheveled, her eyes looking up to heaven, a book in her right hand, & the left resting on a skull a 3/4 length of full size on Canvas, copied from Joseph de Ribera, called Espagnolet, purchased from St. Severin's collection. Catal. No. 59
Middle tier
36. a Transfiguration. copied from Raphael. whole length figures of 6.I. on Canvas. the subject Matt. 17. 1-8. see 4. Manuel du/ Museum. PI. 1.
37. the Baptism of Jesus by John. figures whole length of 10.1. on wood. from Devois. the subject Luke 3.21.22.
38. a Crucifixion. whole length figure on wood. an Original/ by Gerard Seggers. the moment is that of Luke 23.44-45.
39. Liberty a print. designed & engraved by Savage.
40. Daphne transformed into a laurel. Apollo is seizing her round the waist to bear her off: but her father, the river-god Peneus, who is present, transforms her, in that instant, into a laurel, the branches of which are seen shooting from her fingers. on the left are two female figures, struck with dismay, & above/ a Cupid flying off in consternation. the figures are whole length. that of Daphne of 12.I. on canvas. an Original. the subject is from Ovid's Metamorphosis L. 1. -tergoque fugaci/ Imminet: et crinem sparsum cervicibus afflat./ Viribus assumptis expalluit illa citaeque/ Victa labore fugae, spectans Pene'das undas./ Fer, pater, inquit, opem; si flumina numen habetis./ Vix prece finita torpor gravis alligat artus:/ Mollia cinquntur tenui praecordia libro./ In frondem crines, in ramos brachia crescunt.
41. Susanna and the elders. three figures of about an eighth/ of the natural module. on Canvas, copied from Coypel.
42. Louis XVI a print. a present from the king to Th. J.
43. Bonaparte. a print.
44. Castruccio Castracani.
45. Andrea Doria.
[[44 & 45] copied from the originals in the/gallery of Medicis, for Th.J.]
46. Hoche. a print.
47. David Rittenhouse. a print.
48. Jesus bearing his cross. a half length on wood. scale/ about 2/5 of the life. subject John 19.17.
49. Jephtha leading his daughter SeYla to be sacrificed./ on one side is the altar & the high-priest with the implements/ of sacrifice: on the other the mother, sisters, & by-standers weep-/ -ing & holding the victim by the one hand, while Jephtha/ pulls her towards the altar by the other. there are 17. figures/ the principal of which is 16 1/2 I. on Canvas. copied from/ Coypel. the subject from Judges. 11
Lower tier
50. the Prodigal son from West. done on canvas in the/ manner called Polyplasiasmos, or the Polygraphic art.
51. a Descent on Copper. the Christ is of about 10.1. behind him/ is the virgin weeping. on each side angels. it is copied from/ Vandyke by Dispenbec. see Rubens' management of the same/ subject. 3. Manuel du Museum. 483.
52. A Descent from the Cross on wood. a groupe of 5. figures. the bo-/ -dy of Jesus is reclined on the ground, the head & shoulders supported/ in the lap of his mother, who with four others, women from Galilee,/ are weeping over him. the figures are whole lengths; the principal/ one 13.I1. it is an original by Francis Floris.
[page 6]
53. The Cyclops forging thunderbolts. a groupe of 9 fi-/ -gures of about 8. I1. on wood.
54. The Surrender of York by Trumbul. it was the premiere/ ebauche of his print on that subject. on canvas.
55. the Medals given by the revolutionary Congress to the/ officers who distinguished themselves on particular occasions./ to wit Gen'. Washington, Gates, Stewart, Wayne, De Fleury,/ Paul Jones. Colo. Washington, Morgan, Howard, Greene & [space]/ tin proofs.
56. Zenobia. a print.
57. Hector & Andromache, in water colours. an original by/ West. the scene is their meeting in Homer 6.494.&c. given by West/ to Gen'. Kosciuzko, & by him to Th. J.
58. Kosciuzko. a print.
59. Thomas Paine an original on wood by Trumbul.
60. Count Rumford. a print.
61. Two inedited birds of Virginia & the Snow sparrow.
62. The Singing birds of Virginia, the uppermost inedited.
[[61 & 62] water/colors by Wilson]
63. Volney. in pencil.
64. a Cutting in paper.
65. Bonaparte a bust in marble. [13]
66. Alexander of Russia. a bust in Plaister. [14]
[page 7]
Dining-room. upper tier.
67. A sleeping Venus in plaister. small
68. Diogenes in the market of Athens. Laertius in the life of this/ philosopher tells us that appearing in a public place in mid-day/ with a lanthern in his hand, he was asked by the crowd what/ he was doing? he answered that he was seeking if he could/ find a man. this anecdote is the subject of this piece. it is a/ groupe of 6. figures, half lengths, of full size on canvas. copied/ from Rubens. see 3. Manuel du Museum. 495.
69. The Sacrifice at Lystra, by the priest of Jupiter to Paul &/ Barnabas, on canvas, copied from Le Sueur. see Acts of the/ Apostles. 14.8.-13.
70. An Accusation, a groupe of 9. figures of about 1/3 the natural/ height. it is an original on canvas, known to be by Solimeni,/ but the subject not certainly known. it is believed however/ to be taken from Ecclesiastical history, and to be the story of/ a young woman accusing a young man of violence comit-/ -ed on her, before a bishop, who is sitting in judgment on/ him and raises a person from the dead to be a witness.
71. Diogenes, visited by Alexander. an Original on canvas./ being desired by Alexander to ask from him whatever he chose,/ he answered 'stand out of my light.' Laertius VI.38.
72. an Ascension of St. Paul into the third heaven. from Domi-/ -niquin. on canvas. the original is in the collection of the king/ of France. the principal figure is 22.I. the head is inspired./ the Saint sees the heavens open, and expands his arms towards/ the glorious light he sees. he is supported by angels. the groupe/ is no longer ascending, but in a state-of rest to give him/ time to contemplate the scene. see 2. Manuel. 778.
[page 8]
73. The holy family copied from Raphael on canvas./ the figures are whole lengths, the Virgin & infant Jesus,/ Joseph, Elizabeth & the infant John & 2. angels. see the 4. Manuel du Museum. PI. 3.
74. A crucifixion. the instant siesed is that of the expiration,/ when the sun is darkened, the temple rent, the atmosphere/ kindled with lightning, the tombs open & yield their dead./ on one side is the Centurion, struck with awe, & seeming/ to say 'verily, this was a righteous man.' on the other/ the two Marys, one of them her hair bristled with fear,/ the other in adoration. the subject is taken from Matt. 27./ 51.52. & Luke 23.45. the figures are whole lengths, the lar-/ -gest of 16.1. copied on canvas from Vandyke. see [space]
75. a Flagellation of Christ, a groupe of 10. figures, the/ principal of which is 21.1. he is bound to a post, two soul-/ -diers whipping him with bundles of rods, and third bind-/ -ing up another bundle. on the right are the Superintend-/ -dents & Spectators. the subject. Matt. 27.26. it is copied/ on wood from Devoes. see the same subject treated very/ similarly by Rubens. 3. Manuel du Musee. 501.
76. A Market piece on canvas, to wit, fruit, vegetables,/ game &c.
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Lower tier.
77. Vandernost. a print.
78. Washington. a print from a drawing of Made de Brehan.
79. New Orleans a print.
80. Colebrook-dale Bridge. a print.
81. The Natural Bridge of Virginia on Canvas by mr. Roberts.
82. the passage of the Patomak through the Blue ridge. do.
83. a distant view of the falls of Niagara from the Indian ladder
84. a view of the falls of Niagara from the table rock. both of/ these are prints, from designs of Vanderlin.
85. the President's house at Washington, in water colours/ by King.
86. Mount Vernon. a print from a design of Birch
87. an elevation of the house at Monticello. by Mills.
88. the Diocletian Portico, a print. (vice the Environs of N. Orleans)
[page 10]
the Tea-room.
Paul Jones.
Franklin [d]
[these 4 busts in plaister by Houdon./size of the life
 Moncada. a print remarkeable for it's execution.
Le bon Odeur
Le bon Gout
[models of fine execution with the pen]
Date obolum Belsario. a print. from Rheberg at Rome.
Morgan's & Col?. Washington's medals. tin proofs.
infant America proteted by Minerva from the lion. a medal/ designed by
Dr. Franklin
L^0. Botetourt. a medallion in wax.
Franklin. a medal of bronze by Dupré.
Louis XVI. a medal. tin-proof.
Gen'. Gates. a miniature print.
the Entry of the King (Louis XVI.) in Paris a medal bronze
the Taking of the Bastile. a medal in bronze.
Dr. Barton. Franklin. Granger.
Rodney. Burwell Gallatin
Tiberius. a cast bronzed.
Capt Lewis. Th. J. a print. Th. J. by Doolittle. Miniatures.
Nero. a cast bronzed
Gen^1. Clinton. Nicholson. Madison. miniatures
Otho. a cast bronzed.
J. W Eppes. Dickerson. Dearborne. miniatures
Vespasian. a cast bronzed.
Pius VII. Gouvr. Morris. Washington by [space] at Paris, from Houdon's bust.
[page 11]
No. 17. corrected. Ariadne reclined on the rocks of Naxos, where Theseus had just abandoned her. she is represented asleep, as in the/ moment when Bacchus discovers, & becomes enamored of her./ her tunic is half loosed, her veil negligently thrown over her head./ the disorder of the drapery in which she is wrapped manifests the anguish/ which had preceded this moment of calm. on the upper part of her left/ arm is a bracelet in the form of the small serpent called Ophis: this/ bracelet taken for an asp, long occasioned the belief that this figure/ represented Cleopatra procuring death by the bite of this reptile.
This statue was placed by Julius II. in the Belvedere of the Vatican,/ of which it was, for three centuries, the principal ornament./ see Notice de la Galerie des Antiques du Musee Napoleon. No. 60. [9]
  1. Transcription from Seymour Howard, “Thomas Jefferson’s Art Gallery for Monticello.” The Art Bulletin LIX(1977): 597-600. The original manuscript is at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia, Accession #2958-b.
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