Gilbert and the Thick Limbs
Before I get that book and I find I have to rethink every thing, I thought I might post a couple of pictures of Sir Alfred Gilbert.
The outside ‘Eros’ (in Aluminium) of Piccadilly Circus fame has quite a thin ankle but when we look at an earlier work above in Marble we see some rather sturdy ‘washer woman’ arms do we not and the little boy’s ankles are a great deal thicker that I would have made them. I took these photos in the V & A and they really do not do this work justice (No stabiliser in my camera). The European influence is obvious. He produced this work whilst in Rome. The models for this were Gilbert’s second son and his wet nurse (who one assumes is an Italian) called ironically Michaelena. The pose is reminiscent of Michelangelo’s Bruges Madonna a cast of which was in the RA Schools which Gilbert would have been familiar with.
For a time, Gilbert was aprenticed to the Hungarian sculptor Joseph Edgar Boehm from whom he learnt the realistic sculptorial technique and benefited also from Boehm's friendship with Aime-Jules Dalou.
I am indebted to the RA for this information and the picture of Eros above.