A diary of thoughts about sculpture, visual art, music, current, rural and personal affairs.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Sculpture is the Be All And End All in Visual Art. Official.
Did you spot the Sculpture Diaries on TV this evening? Waldemar Januszczak Art critic of Channel Four, sets out to prove that sculpture is the single most important subject in Visual Art. He is right of course, I look forward to the next two episodes.
As an aside though; he did bring up some stuff I would have avoided- some of it a little 'on the fringe'!
I hope that one day someone will be able and willing to tell the world a little more about this work. Technically it is amazing what ever size it is; carved marble! Now think about that and send Michelangelo back to school. Aesthetically it would be difficult to better; certainly not a classical pose and not obviously controversial in any way (couldn't offend anyone). So, Ok what is it that I like about it?
‘A sleepy girl on a hammock’. As you may only look (unless you own one!) what more could you want?
The first one is in Ivory, bronze, wood and mother of pearl and is small at 33cm x 27cm. The second is in bronze size unknown and the last in I guessed terra cotta, but if it is plaster as Ian Cox said, then is there a Marble one somewhere? Looks as if it is a lot bigger and could be life size. See other pictures on Cox Art news and here.
When I first saw this ‘little’ work it hardly caught my eye and I skipped on through the auction catalogue. I also must have seen the second version in another catalogue but do not remember it. Then I saw it on Cox Art News in a photo of a grave I did as I was told and ‘clicked’ where he indicated expecting to see some more graves. I am so glad I did for more that one reason.
First of all it is a delightful work. Second it brought this sculptor to mind and finally it got me thinking about ‘Media’ again.
It is unclear what has been used for the grave but I guess it is stone. We have a mixed media, a bronze and the big one which I had assumed was terra cotta but it could easily be plaster. Does anyone have a favourite?
Artists in the 16th century in this part of Europe generally didn’t have access to female models at all. For faces and portraits, yes, but not for figures.
Is that strictly true? Probably not completely.
There’s a whole lot of sociological issues you could go into there, but it’s not fair to hold those against Michelangelo. For an artist, like Michelangelo, without much first hand exposure to the female form or much interest in the subject, it’s not surprising that his female creations were often somewhat masculine.
There may be some truth in what Jeff says here but I am not convinced; if Michelangelo had wanted to do a good female form he would have found away, from the little I know about him he was not too afraid of doing his own thing despite powerful opposition and conventions.
(I do sympathise however with the many young men who went to their deaths in the Great War of 1914-18 having seen nothing more that what was on show in the Nation Gallery and a naughty French post card or two. Such is the puritanical society.)
The Virgin Mary in Michelangelo’s Pieta is an acceptable female face (much too young but that’s another issue) not to my mind especially beautiful, so as Jeff says he could do it.
There are plenty of paintings by other Artists of the time, Leonardo, Raphael and others were able to produce passable female forms which vary in actuate femininity. (See examples above.)
For what it is worth I do not believe ‘Mich’ wanted to paint or sculpt women.