“Muses bright and muses pale;
Sombre Saturn, Momus hale; …”
–John Keats, from “A Song of Opposites”
Mouseion means temple of the muses, museum come from it. I think it was also the name of a specific place in Alexandria (Egypt) where scholars got together the chat. More what we’d today call a symposium, a permanent ongoing one, a symposium back then was something different, closer to a drinking party than a thinking one, although debating, plotting and boasting figure highly in both the ancient and modern versions.
Kinda like college in the ‘60s. I do miss that.
Now, just ruins of temples, of a golden age or at least seen as so looking back. What’s seen now are just statues, crumbling and grey. They were all painted you know, they seemed to come alive, but no more. They are now merely haunts of ironic tourists.
And the artist revisits the temple sites too, but not to sculpt and paint; but to mock the ironic. So momoseion makes more sense than mouseion as there was there was no muse for the visual arts. History and astronomy yes, but none for inspiring painters and sculptors. Momos was the deity of mockery, complaint and criticism, he’ll have to do.
“…Laugh and sigh, and laugh again;”