Erato, the muse of romantic poetry, is often shown with a lyre and wreath of roses in her hair. This 6-inch goddess was once a decoration on an elaborate Ansonia clock, and is made of spelter. Spelter, while sometimes used merely as a synonym for zinc, is often used to identify a zinc alloy. Early twentieth-century Art Nouveau and Art Deco figures and lamps were often made of spelter. The metal has been used since about the 1860s to make statues, tablewares, and lamps that resemble bronze. I re-patinaed Erato using Puritan bronze and gold highlights, mimicking contemporary French bronzes.
I just listed a few of my small-to-medium size sculptures, plus I’m selling select items from my personal collection and also tools and materials. Check back from time to time to see what new gems I’ve added.
Emma Stebbins’ “Angel of the Waters” atop Bethesda Fountain in New York City’s Central Park had a rocky road to greatness:
African-American sculptor Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller lived and worked in Framingham, Mass. for most of her life. She studied in Paris with Rodin as a very young woman, and married late, to the Liberian psychiatrist Solomon Fuller. Fuller’s tiny studio, once in the attic of her family home, is reconstructed now as part of the Danforth Museum’s move and restoration. Fuller’s husband did not approve of his wife having a career apart from marriage and motherhood; but Fuller, persistent and driven to represent her heritage as a proud and historically significant one, eventually built a separate studio with a small inheritance of her own. The Fuller Room shows the Danforth’s entire collection, including molds, armatures, bas-reliefs, and small, unfinished work, and is inspiring.
Belgium’s newest, oldest art star is a 17th-century painter as versatile as she was accomplished. Did the very beauty and quality of her painting insure that she herself would be forgotten?
Above: Two Girls Dressed as Saints Agnes and Dorothy, n.d., by Michaelina Wautier, Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp
Apollo Magazine article
A recent New Yorker article on new techniques used to recover the true colors of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture includes this video. Ancient funerary portraits formed the theoretical basis for surprisingly subtle painting.
The Treu Head.
Maya Lin‘s granite, steel and glass facade of the Novartis headquarters on Mass. Ave. in Cambridge looks like a soaring rock formation eroded from a burning blue October sky. The building’s granite blocks, interspersed with interstices, references the binary patterns of the human genome, or the cellular building blocks of life.
As the architecture critic Paul Goldberger writes about the Novartis project in “Maya Lin Topologies,” a book of photographs and essays about her work, “Lin has begun to work with greater constraints than she has ever had. She knows that the greatest challenge of all is not to design without restrictions, but to accept the constraints and then, just as she has done, show that in spite of them you can bring real architecture into being.”
An article from the Boston Globe.
Davida Johnson Clark, the model whose classically beautiful features pervaded Augustus St. Gaudens’ visualizations of Diana, Victory, and Amor Caritas, is one of the most highly visible faces in neoclassical art. Yet the woman herself—St. Gaudens’ longtime mistress and mother of one of his sons—has almost disappeared from history.
A Swedish immigrant whose name was originally Albertina Hulgren, Davida was re-christened by St. Gaudens after Michelangelo’s David. Her great-granddaughter wrote a fictionalized biography of her in 2016.
I’d like to see an equestrian sculpture of Sally Farnham, near her monument to Simon Bolivar…
Sally Farnham‘s Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Memorial in Ogdensburg, New York, was inspired by the Nike of Samothrace, a sculpture the young Sally saw in the Louvre. The historic photo at left is the clay sculpture before casting; at right, the finished monument on its plinth. Check #GoddessID for my recent posts. Sally’s over-life-size bronze goddess is described in some historic detail here.