So the scultpure on the cover of Bob Dylan's new album, "Tempest",
is not Bernini's "Ecstacy of Saint Teresa"
as I thought at first glance. Rather, it is The Athena Fountain (Pallas-Athene-Brunnen)in front of the Austrian Paliament Building.Apparently, the subject represents the river Vlatva and the greater work is an allegorical reference to Athena and draws on the geographic landmarks of the region, (of which I know nothing about).
Still, I like to think that the similarities aren't irrelevant. After all, Dylan has said that his initial intent was for "The Tempest" to be a religious album. But really, what Dylan album is NOT religious? I don't just mean "Slow Train" and "Saved." I mean "Modern Times," (Spirit on the Water, Beyond the Horizon to name two songs off that album as examples). The guy just can't help it. He doesn't just believe. He knows. Despite his doubts, he's always known. I think the near universal inability of critics and contemporaries to really peg Dylan's genius speaks to this. The guy is just nearly impossible to make heads or tails of outside of a deeply religious folk sensibility.
In any case, this new one is going to be more of Dylan's Charlie Sexton/ Stu Kimball/ Donnie Herron supporting act, which is DYLAN"S BEST BAND EVER. Even better than when he had Mark Knopfler working with him. Yep, that good.