Reactions to Sculpture Post

Well, I must do more on sculpture! I am pleased to report that I have received a very positive response. Most people admitted like me that they knew very little about sculpture but loved it and as G of Moorabbin said enjoyed learning a little more about the differences between sculpture and statues. K of Paddington reminded me of the works of British sculptor Henry Moore (1898–1986) and that here in Melbourne we are so lucky to have Draped Seated Woman to appreciate each time we visit the National Gallery of Victoria.

On 3 June 1960 the National Gallery of Victoria’s deputy director, Gordon Thomson, announced to the public the Felton Bequests’ Committee recent acquisition of Henry Moore’s *Draped Seated Woman. His press release stressed the acquisition’s signal importance for the Gallery, noting, ‘The arrival of this work in Melbourne is an historic event of great importance. It is the first large-scale work to be imported for almost thirty years, and is unquestionably the finest piece of sculpture in this country’. To explain the artist’s intentions in making the piece, Thomson quoted Moore’s own comments of some twenty years earlier:
Beauty in the later Greek or Renaissance sense, is not the aim of my sculpture. Between beauty of expression and power of expression there is a difference of function. The first aims at pleasing the senses, the second has a spiritual vitality, which is for me more moving, and goes deeper than the senses. (ngv.vic.gov.au)

And for some reason, this statue and these words reminded me of the wonderful statue to Sir Walter Scott by John Steell located inside the The Scott Monument in Princes Street, Edinburgh.This Victorian Gothic monument is the second largest monument to a writer in the world after the José Martí monument in Havana. (Wikipedia)
(Credit: Wikipedia)

Sir Walter, novelist, playwright, poet and historian, is a favourite amongst those of us with a good dose of Scottish DNA. And did you know that Walter Scott was the nephew of Daniel Rutherford the Scot who discovered nitrogen. Just one of those trivial facts that I like to throw in occasionally. What is even more important is the inclusion of Scott's favourite dog Maida on the statue.
(Credit: http://www.cityofliterature.com)

Maida was a deerhound given to Scott by a friend and would become his dearest canine friend. Outside the door of Abbotsford, Scott’s Borders home, a statue of Maida lies with the words “Maidae marmorea dormis sub imagine Maida / Ante fores domini sit tibi terra levis” carved around it. “Beneath the sculptured form which late you wore sleep soundly, Maida, at your master’s door.” (www.cityofliterature.com)

Scott was famous for his love of dogs, and they more often than not appeared in portraits with him. He cancelled a dinner engagement on the death of one, Camp, and buried him in sight of the window where he usually wrote. The friend who had expected Scott completely understood why he couldn’t face company that evening. Scott also gave his name to a breed of dogs the Dandie Dinmont which is named after a character (Dandie Dinmont) in Scott's novel, Guy Mannering. This character was probably based on James Davidson who is credited as the originator of the modern breed. (www.cityofliterature.com) More interesting yet totally irrelevant facts for you to use at your next trivia night!

Jane also stopped on her tour of the Uk to respond to the blog:

Loved the blog on sculptures and the differences to statues. The first sculpture that comes to my mind is The Thinker by Rodin. I’ve seen examples in the Rodin museum in Paris and also the McClelland gallery in Melbourne. It’s a simple pose and yet always promotes food for thought, which I guess is what Rodin wanted to achieve. The Hero Image today is The Thinker by Rodin. You can also review an earlier Blog on Rodin

My other favourite is David - I think he would be considered a statue. Way back in 1988 I had the joy of visiting the *Accadamia in Florence just after Christmas - no tourists there at all, as I walked along the corridor of the unfinished works, figures of slaves emerging from the blocks of marble...*
(Credit:www.accademia.org.jpg)

...and then to see David - I had him to myself for at least 10 minutes and even today I get goosebumps remembering his powerful physique - a true marvel!

(Credit: Dreamstime.com)

David is a remarkable sculpture which in the opinion of many has never been equalled. Michelangelo was certainly touched by the hand of God!

Back to Jane. Yesterday we were at Chavenage House, the mansion used in Poldark, which I have never watched. Some filming taking place, mainly horse and carriages arriving. We did meet George, I think he is the villain.* Oh yes he is Jane. A very nasty character.

The walls of the Cromwell room hung with 400 year old tapestries, more about that soon, it might make an interesting blog.

In the Cotswolds we visited the village of Broadway and I found an amazing art gallery - Christie House - a Matisse drawing and a wonderful study featuring 3 female heads - impressionist artist named Helleu, whom I have never headed of. Nothing under £30,000, a little out of my price range.

Like Jane I have never heard of Paul César Helleu. Google tells us he was a French oil painter, pastel artist, drypoint etcher, and designer. From all accounts he is best known for his portraits of beautiful society women of the Belle Époque. And here is something delicious: He conceived the ceiling mural of night sky constellations for Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Thank you Jane for discovering him. What do you think his reaction would be to the placement of the American flag? (Credit: Wikipedia)

Then in Cheltenham, we were running out of time and unable to visit the Gustav Holst museum who grew up in that building and wrote The Planets right there! But Margaret and I discovered another gallery, more wow moments - works by Bob Dylan and Ronnie Wood - did you know these musicians were artists too?

Yes I did and even mentioned in a blog on piers something a little naughty Dylan did in creating one of his paintings.

Then some other paintings captured my attention, the limited editions were beautiful in themselves and then I learned they were what is called Augmented Reality - a chip is imbedded in the work and you need to download an app on your phone which then launches multimedia - stories, poetry, music and photography. The gallery manager didn’t show me but I am certainly intrigued. The collection is based on stories of the battle in the Somme using the SCARLET Project (Special Collections using Augmented Reality to Enhance Learning and Teaching). Jane and I will do some more research on Augmented Reality as it is right in the direction we are taking at the moment.

Coming up, as coincidence will have it, is a blog on Reality versus Imagination. As I have said before an interest in art is like being part of a giant dot to dot painting. The more you read, talk, discover, the more the dots join up! And in your MindStudio you are creating a wonderful MindMap on Art!

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Anne Newman

Oil Painter in realistic genre style, predominantly buildings and people. To continue the discussion contact Anne on anewman@netspace.net.au or phone +61 407 516 522

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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