Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sculpture Thick Ankles Again

David Backhouse, has done a very good job with the Animals At War Memorial in Park Lane. Unfortunately the horse shown in my photo illustrates very well the problem I have with ankles! 100 swallows and I had a discussion on the subject some time ago and I promised to show you these pictures. Rodin and Maillol also had this problem and still no one has answered the question; is this a mistake; believed to be a technical necessity or as 100 swallows suggests; aesthetics?
In these pictures you will see a “Big” horse, breed unknown but definitely a powerful animal of sound bone and heavy structure. So you can forgive Backhouse the thick legs.

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Blogger chris miller said...

Glad you're back in blogworld, Robert.

In my worthless opinion -- making a horse is one thing (best left up to either God or the taxidermist) -- while making a sculpture is something different.

11:52 pm  
Blogger Robert said...

What you are saying is that little things like that shouldn't niggle me!

(Had to check the English vs American dictionary on that one just incase!)

9:42 am  
Blogger Marly Youmans said...

Or that horses are one thing and dream horses are another...

5:40 am  
Blogger Robert said...

for some its about "make believe"; if you want a witch you give her a long pointy nose with a wart on the end of it as in Snow White, but as with the god of Fine Art, Apollo, he is represented under the form of a young man of splendid beauty, his head crowned with a laurel and a lyre in his hand!

My niggle is technical not mythical. A sculptor needs to know his anatomy before he plays god and changes it for purposes of his own. A sculpture which states an inaccurate fact will niggle. In a great sketch such details are lost in the lack of them.

7:30 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Robert. I saw your post and meant to comment. I agree with you: the thick ankles bother. I also agree with Chris that a work of art should be free but then it can be disliked for precisely the liberties the artist takes. Those thick ankles and cannon bones, no matter this fictitious horse's breed, do take away from the sense of motion or lightness of the gallop. I also think it was an aesthetic error to lower the head that way--even if the sculptor wanted to highlight that great line of the back and withers (enormous mountain of shoulders!). In the dark, doesn't it look headless?

I much prefer your light,tap-dancing beauties.

I agree with you too about knowing one's anatomy before "horsing around". I made the mistake of modelling some bulls before I had studied the animal carefully and now I can't look at those figures without cringing. I thought a work of the imagination didn't need to be anchored in "fact"--but it does.

11:33 am  
Blogger Marly Youmans said...

Interesting comments... By dream horses I meant created horses rather than literal or literal-minded ones.

We are deep under snow. Hope you (and horses of all kinds) are sniffing a bit of distant spring.

2:35 pm  
Blogger Robert said...

100 swallows'
What a coincidence; I too did a bull, and early work, an Aberdeen Angus, impressive beast which made me very wary of getting into the same field with him and a number of young heifers he was friendly with! Hence I took long shot video footage and pencil sketches. I therefore missed some details of anatomy I think! The vet who commissioned him was very pleased and I sold a couple more so I got away with it! The fun bit however, was that I did not make the armature strong enough at the first attempt so when half way through the rubber mould it collapsed, leaving an expensive mushy mess. Since then I have used an oil based clay! (until now that is!)

No, no snow here yet but it is early days!

The ponies are hungry as there is no grass so I have to feed them twice a day. We only have some snowdrops, one primrose and one rose out at the moment. As for spring and sniffing no other sign of the former and everyone is sniffing for one reason or another.

Always the optimist, if things are to get better we have to start somewhere, you can't get worst than February over here!

3:20 pm  
Blogger Marly Youmans said...

I was just in North Carolina and saw primroses and crocuses and a few daffodils and one anemone bud. But now I am home in my igloo!

3:34 am  

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