I took a meander through some of the collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a friend recently after seeing the amazing Alexander McQueen exhibit and somehow found myself in the gallery of Spanish art from 1500-1700. There I came across a pair of rather peculiar feet attached to a relief of John the Baptist (left; click to enlarge). While I'm all in favor of prehensile toes -- during my misspent youth, I taught myself to solve a "Rubik's Pyramid" with mine -- these toes seemed somewhat overlong and a little bit disturbing. Especially the second toe on the left foot. I spent some time studying my own toes, and they are not overly-long or uncanny-looking at all. Am I just imagining that there is something a little off about these feet? Is this something common in men's feet? Did the artist copy his own toes? Do saints have mutant feet?
I was and am undecided as to whether the grubby extra-long prehensile toes of a saint are more disturbing than the idea of small household goods in the shape of severed body parts.
This odd coincidence led my companion to suggest that I could organize an entire museum trip around searching out and photographing peculiarly long-toed feet, sort of like the way my lightning-fast trip through the San Diego Zoo a few years ago became focused on black and white fauna. There are plenty of parts of the Metropolitan Museum that I've never seen, since I usually come in for a special exhibit and then wander around without any particular plan until I get tired. Is it actually full of long-toed bare feet or are these a statistically significant percentage of them? Do I really want to know badly enough to spend a day methodically surveying the Met for feet?