08 August, 2008

The mythical 8/8/08 is here! Let's hope it's a good one....

Rodin's "Walking Man", a piece that spoke very loudly to me when I began to make sculpture. It's always interesting to compare it to the "John the Baptist". The Norton Simon has a "J.t.B." that looks very even and "realistic" in surface treatment (sculpture-wise) and has a very flat, matte finish (surface quality-wise) that makes it look more like a Gerome than I think it should. It's disappointing--probably a posthumous casting? There are casts in Paris, at least two that I saw--one at the D'Orsay definitely, and the other at the Rodin Museum (outdoors--and a bust of J.t.B. that I drew that's on the right side of the entry foyer, n'est pas?). Those had a very lively finish on the bronze--with real black color slathered and glowing under lots of wax, (the Norton's looks like bare metal). I love that black bronze look, but I never had the balls to stick with it for one of my own pieces (always backed out and went brown/green)(it just looked too damn dark when I tried it--you've got to really have a lot of surface agitation to make that sort of thing work--otherwise it looks like polished basalt--a cool look, but not for my stuff). Seeing the underwhelming "J.t.B." at the Norton reminded me of how my stuff shared the same vices (with far fewer virtues to offset them!)--I tended toward the too-literal, the over-realized, the too-tedious.

Rodin wasn't happy with the finished "J.t.B.", either, and much preferred the "Walking Man"--and since I never did come up with anything as good as the "Walking Man", I quit sculpting.

1 comment:

rickart said...

This one (the sculpture, not the drawing) has always felt more unfinished than most of the Rodin pieces I've seen... the missing arms and head are conspicuous in their absence.

The pose, on the other hand, is so unique, with a tension that is pretty remarkable. He never seemed to be walking to me, but standing as though bracing himself for some on-coming threat... perhaps it's just my own search for drama and a story in art that makes me see it that way.

As always, thanks for sharing!