Sam Gallo correctly points out (Oct. 18) that is was “private” money that funded so much of the great art of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Baroque eras. The practice of “noblesse oblige” that Russ Wise referred to in his letter that Gallo responded to was one that was widely practiced in Europe most particularly during the medieval period. The concept was simple: It was the responsibility of those people of rank and privilege to help those who were not so fortunate.
In some cases, it could be brought into question as to how those folks and institutions obtained their wealth, but that is another topic.
Nevertheless, Gallo is correct with his point. “Noblesse oblige” is a concept sorely lacking in this day where greed has become so prevalent and even encouraged by so many voices on the far right.
Of course there are notable exceptions such as Bill and Melinda Gates et al., but it would be great if more of the “1 percent” crowd would look more favorably upon those of us in Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” America.
Whether or not the government should fund the Public Broadcasting Service is a good debate that is being had throughout our country. It should be pointed out, however, that the one and only time that our government actively became involved in the arts provided us with so many of our great national treasures that we enjoy today.
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s WPA put artists of all skill levels to work creating public works such as the murals in Allen Hall on the LSU campus. Former Baton Rougean Elise Grenier has beautifully restored these frescoes and they are now more beautiful than ever. The original project was a collaborative effort by LSU students and faculty under the direction of Conrad Albrizio, who painted the frescoes in the State Capitol building.
If you haven’t seen the LSU murals, you should make the effort the next time you are on campus.
It would be great if there were more 21st century Jacopo Gallos (Gallo’s 16th century forefather) instead of the Wall Street bankers that almost returned us to Franklin Roosevelt’s Great Depression. Thank you, President Barack Obama, for heading that off; and, yes, he did; and, yes, we can!