Portrait of a Woman, Roman, Imperial period, 2nd century, gouache on wood

Portrait of a Woman, Roman, Imperial period, 2nd century, gouache on wood

As per usual, the highlight of SNL last weekend was the Lonely Island digital short. This time the show’s host Adam Levine and musical guest Kendrick Lamar pitched in to help out. The target of their derision was the most annoying 2012 neologism, YOLO. This acronym is shorthand for you only live once. Here is a link to SNL’s YOLO short. YOLO was voted in a Time Magazine poll, the word or phrase that most people thought should be banned in 2013. So, if we only live once and if life is so short, why am I still wasting precious breath on this annoying phrase?

The picture with this post is a portrait of an Egyptian woman who lived almost two-thousand years ago. Nothing remains of her except for this painting in the Saint Louis Art Museum. Her eyes make this a striking image, but was that really her or was it an artifact of the artist’s style? The text that follows is the museums description of this artwork.

Large, almond-shaped eyes dominate this striking portrait of a well-to-do Egyptian woman (note her gold and pearl earrings). Created using gouache paint on wood, this portrait was likely commissioned while she was still alive, capturing her in middle age with gray-streaked hair and deep forehead creases. Gouache paint is similar to watercolor but modified to make it an opaque painting medium. At her death, it would have been placed on her coffin. Unlike the idealized faces from dynastic Egypt, this portrait from Egypt’s Roman period portrays the subject as she looked during her life.

Carpe diem – seize the day has a similar connotation as YOLO, except that YOLO has been engulfed as an Internet meme that is probably the main reason that so many people are sick of this acronym. There are far too many pictures on the web that show people yelling YOLO, just before they do something stupid. Life is both short and uncertain. All to soon any one of us will be considered lucky to have a bit of painted wood, to be remembered with.

In the spirit of YOLO, I took the afternoon off from work today. Most of my office had already bailed, by the time that I left work. This afternoon was a gorgeous 73 °F day. It was a great day for a bicycle ride, because you know, YOLO. 😉

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