Notes to Poem:
Giacometti's Walking Man

Peter Y. Chou

Giacometti's Walking Man
sold for $104 million dollars— new record for an artwork

L'Homme Qui March I or Walking Man I by Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) was executed in 1960 and cast in bronze in a numbered edition of 6 plus 4 artist's proofs. The present work was cast in 1961 and is a life-size cast. The wiry human figure stands 6 feet tall (72 inches, 183 centimeters), and represents the pinnacle of Giacometti's experimentation with the human form. It was formerly in the collection of Dresdner Bank AG, Frankfurt since 1980. On Wednesday, February 3, 2010, at London Sotheby's auction, Giacometti's Walking Man I sold for $104.3 million (£65). The previous record was $104.1 million, paid for a 1905 Pablo Picasso's Boy With a Pipe, at Sotheby's in New York in 2004. Giacometti's Walking Man appears on the reverse of the 100 Swiss Francs banknote issued in 1996. [Image: Alberto Giacometti, Walking Man I (1961)]

Frenzied bidding at Sotheby's for this
life-size bronze by the Swiss sculptor

Sotheby's had expected the sculpture to bring $19.2 million to $28.8 million. The $104.3 million was more than three times the record for a Giacometti, which was set at Christie's New York auction in May 2008 when Standing Woman II from 1959-60 sold for $27.4 million. In an overflowing salesroom, ten bidders competed for the bronze sculpture during eight minutes of frenzied bidding. The winning bidder over the phone through Philip Hook, senior director of Sotheby's European operations, chose to remain anonymous. (New York Times, Feb. 3, 2010)

legs spread out like an upside down V
in the shape of the Platonic Lambda— Soul of the Universe!

The Platonic Lambda, the Soul of the Universe,
is the sum of the two series (Timaeus 35b):
Sum of the double interval series (powers of 2) =
20 + 21 + 22 + 23 = 1 + 2 + 4 + 8 = 15
Sum of the triple interval series (powers of 3) =
30 + 31 + 32 + 33 = 1 + 3 + 9 + 27 = 40
Sum of the double & triple interval series (Timaeus) = 15 + 40 = 55
“Now God did not make the soul after the body, although we are speaking of them in this order; for having brought them together he would never have allowed that the elder should be ruled by the younger... First of all, he took away one part of the whole [1], and then he separated a second part which was double the first [2], and then he took away a third part which was half as much again as the second and three times as much as the first [3], and then he took a fourth part which was twice as much as the second [4], and a fifth part which was three times the third [9], and a sixth part which was eight times the first [8], and a seventh part which was twenty-seven times the first [27]. After this he filled up the double intervals [i.e. between 1, 2, 4, 8] and the triple [i.e. between 1, 3, 9, 27] cutting off yet other portions from the mixture and placing them in the intervals.” (Benjamin Jowett's translation Timaeus, 35b). See also Speculations on the Soul; Number 55; Dante's 55 & Platonic Lambda; Dante & Marilyn.

Walking Man's stride shows the soul in action—
something that's priceless

While our body is visible and tangible, our soul is invisible and intangible. The Platonic Lambda which Plato described in Timaeus 35b as "soul of the universe" seemed quite abstract. When I noticed the man's legs walking by Giacometti's Walking Man at Sotheby's Auction, it suddenly struck me that the soul's shape or form (upside "V" or Greek letter Λ) is right before our eyes manifesting itself whenever we are walking or alive! According to Genesis 2.7: "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." That the soul's form (Λ) supports our torso (body) when we walk is like the invisible root that's the foundation of trees. William Blake's Ancient of Days (1794) shows God creating the world with a compass shaped like the Greek letter Λ, similar to Plato's creation account of the universe. [Image: Man walking by London Sotheby's that auctioned Giacometti's Walking Man I for $104.3 million. Photo by Carl de Souza (AFP, Getty Images)]

                                                            — Peter Y. Chou
                                                                Mountain View, 4-4-2010

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© Peter Y. Chou, Wisdom Portal
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