This tiny bronze sculpture (c. 1000 BC) depicts Isis nursing her infant son Horus. An iconic image in ancient Egypt, the pose alone reminded contemporary viewers of the goddess and her many legends, including the maternal devotion she exhibited in raising falcon-headed Horus, god of war. The main cycle of Egyptian myths involves the slaying of her husband Osiris, and his resurrection by Isis and her sister Nepthys: Isis was thereafter the protector of souls as they made their way through the underworld. Isis wears on her head the sign for “throne” and is often shown nursing Pharaohs as she nursed Horus. She is not only a pre-eminent deity of the Egyptian pantheon, but her worship spread to the Greco-Roman world as well. Only the rise of Christianity eventually quashed Isis. This tiny and beautifully detailed bronze is at the mfa.org #GoddessID
Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts is crowded with goddesses, and I’ll be posting pictures from a recent visit over the next few days.
This tiny and perfect bronze Nepthys is in the Egyptian wing. Sister of Isis, Nepthys accompanied the night boat of Ra through the darkness. She is usually represented with a headdress in the shape of a house since the literal translation of her name is “woman of the house,” which is not at all synonymous with “housewife.” Nepthys is a nursing mother, sometimes depicted as nurse to the Pharaohs themselves, and mother to the jackal-headed Anubis, lord of the underworld. A mortuary goddess, she is also in charge of festivals and beer. Like many ancient goddesses, her past is somewhat checkered, her roles are many and widely diversified, and well worth further reading.
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.
Nancy Schön, sculptor of the beloved Make Way for Ducklings bronze on Boston Common, is showing new and classic work at the Gallery at North Hill, an assisted-living complex. On view are her series of small-scale Aesop’s fables pieces and life-size animals in bronze. Crow and the Pitcher, a diminutive 6x6x14 inches, is shown below
Ellen Schön, Nancy’s daughter, is a ceramic sculptor who teaches at Lesley University College of Art and Design (LUCAD). Nancy’s hand built, direct-fired ceramic forms are inspired by nature and the landscape. Her transcendent Lotus Pod (above) is smoke-fired clay. The piece references lotus flowers, symbols of enlightenment, and almost seems to hover above its pedestal.
The gallery is open to the public daily from 9am-5pm just inside the main entrance at 865 Central Ave., Needham, MA.
Cody, Wyoming hosts major life sizes bronze sculptures by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and Glenna Goodacre.
Whitney was already famous in New York when she undertook “Buffalo Bill–The Scout” and considered it to be her masterpiece. Cast at Roman Bronze Works in Queens, NY, the over-lifesize sculpture was completed in 1924 and shipped to Cody where it was installed on a large stone base, meant to represent nearby Cedar Mountain. Whitney’s son, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, donated funds in his mother’s memory to establish the nearby Whitney Gallery of Western Art.
Glenna Goodacre, best known for designing the relief portrait on the Sacagawea dollar coin, sculpted a life-size portrait “Sacagawea and Jean Baptiste” which stands outside the Whitney Gallery. Randy L’Teton, a Shoshone-Bannock college student, posed for Goodacre’s medallic Sacagawea in 2001.
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s Buffalo Bill commission
photography by Eli Wirth-Apley
The Frederic Remington Museum in Ogdensburg, New York, has the only collection of sculpture by Sally James Farnham, the early 20th century neoclassical sculptor of monuments and portraits. Sally’s Soldiers and Sailors Civil War Memorial (above) is across the street, behind the Ogdensburg Public Library.
Both Remington and Farnham were Ogdensburg natives, and probably met in later life while living in New York City. Remington was Farnham’s mentor and encouraged her early work, even recommending his New York foundry, Roman Bronze.
I’m very excited to participate in the Museum’s first artist in residence program this summer, working on projects related to Sally. I’ll be posting upcoming activities and events at the Remington—workshops and talks—starting July 1.
An addendum to this post from the Remington appears on Facebook, thanks to director Laura Foster and the Sally Farnham Catalog Raisonne Project director Michael Reed: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=sally%20james%20farnham
I plan to see this life-size bronze Jumbo, recently unveiled at Tufts University. If you don’t know the story of the giant circus elephant who was stuffed and on display at Tufts, read on…
Photo and link courtesy WGBH news.