Friday, 26 August 2011


For many years distinguished historians in the prestigious fine art department at go-ahead Edinburgh cricket club Carlton believed that this work depicted a physiotherapist ministering to an exhausted pace bowler who had just finished a spell bowling up the hill against the wind.  They faced scepticism that its creator, Michelangelo, had never visited the club's Grange Loan ground and so could not have seen the suffering experienced by bowlers forced by unyielding skippers to sacrifice themselves.  Carlton's experts rather lamely countered this scepticism by saying that he might have seen photographs.  Recently, further painstaking research in the nets has led Carlton's experts to revise their interpretation.  This work, the Pieta, has no cricketing reference and is correctly understood to depict Mary receiving Christ’s body from the Cross.  And very moving this great work is - it can be seen in St Peter's Church in the Vatican. 

Having changed their interpretation, Carlton’s experts have abandoned their plan for a prestigious exhibition next summer exploring various aspects of Michelangelo and the Cover Drive which would have seen the sculpture make a rare journey outside Italy to be on display at the Grange Loan pavilion.  A club spokesperson told Fantasy Bob ‘We will use the drawings of the nursery kids as the centrepiece instead.’ 

But why on earth, you wonder, is Fantasy Bob boring on about this today?  For no good reason really - he just came across a picture of it in a book and was reminded that it was commissioned on this very day in 1498.  And that is exactly 270 years to the day before Captain James Cook set sail in the Endeavour eventually to discover Australia and make the Ashes possible.  26 August - sometimes you get days like that.

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