467 Laura

The referent of this minor planet's name is somewhat in contention.

One possibility is that it is named after the subject of a collection of 366 Italian poems by Francesco Petrarca, usually collected as Il Canzoniere or Sonnets to Laura. She was probably a real person that he met, and, in typical poet fashion, loved greatly and painfully for the rest of his life and never talked to again. In Petrarch's works, she symbolizes perfection itself, a beauty that transcends the mortal (compare with Beatrice).

Another possibility is that it is named after a character from Amilcare Ponchielli's 1876 opera La Giaconda, the one with the ballet that everybody immediately thinks of when they think of ballet. In the play, the protagonist Giaconda competes with Laura for the heart of Enzo, but things are complicated when Laura saves her mother's life. At one point, Giaconda is about to stab Laura, but she sees that she wears her mother's rosary, and cannot do it.

The symbol of this minor planet is an attempt to synthesize the ideas of these two figures. It is a rosary, represented as a necklace (as 40 Harmonia) with a Christain cross on the bottom, representing both the Christian themes of each character and the object that saved one Laura's life, and with a star in the center, representing the other Laura's beauty in Petrarch's eye, and the love that tortured him.

(I reluctantly note that this symbol differs from the symbol for 69230 Hermes only by proportions. This is unfortunate, but I can't find a way to comfortably avoid it.)

< prev | 467 | next >


Add a New Comment
or Sign in as Wikidot user
(will not be published)
- +
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License