Friday, September 23, 2016

Génius of Arts, by Antonin Mercié

In many countries, September is the period when children go back to school...  Today's beautiful sculpture aims to encourage them to study the arts, with Antonin Mercié 'Génie des Arts' large haut-relief, visible at the Guichet du Louvre in Paris, facing the river Seine.

Génie, in terms of sculpture, or painting, describes a kid with wings, in this case he is sitting on the Pegasus winged horse. Sometimes the feet are covered with foliage ('rinceaux', in French).

This sculpture, made in 1877, replaced a Napoleon III sculpture from the sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye. (There is a similar sculpture on the Jules Michelet tomb, visible at the Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris). It is made in hammered copper.

Antonin Mercié (1845-1916) was a famous French sculptor, who received the Prix de Rome in 1868 (when he was 23 years old!). He made a famous 'David' bronze sculpture (edited at 100 copies, the large one is visible at the Orsay Museum in Paris. He sculpted the Arago monument in Perpignan, a marble sculpture for the tomb of the wife of Charles Ferry, called 'Souvenir'. And several other monuments, for Jules Ferry, Meissonier, Louis Faidherbe, Adolphe Thiers,  and a 'Regret' sculpture for Alexandre Cabanel tomb. And also a large stone sculpture called 'Justice'...

Below, photograph of Antonin Mercié in his studio (115, boulevard Saint Michel Paris).
Mercié was also a painter, one of his famous painting being the Michel Angelo studying anatomy (1885). He was one of the teacher at the Ecole des Beaux Arts de Paris, for both drawing and sculpture. He became President of the French Artists society in 1913.He is resting in Toulouse, at the Terre-Cabale cemetery.

Mercié portrait (1900) done by Ramon Casas - Musée Nat. des Arts - Catalogne - Spain
Sources :
Louvre Museum
Paris1900 L'Art 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Stone carvers world tour

The male beauties sculpted in stone and visible in today's museums, galleries, cathedrals, castles, churches, public monuments, parks and places, have a similar origin : a (large) block of marble or other stone, block that was extracted from the ground, in various quarries such as the famous Carrara, Volterra, and Pietrasanta in Italy, by famous or less known carvers and sculptors. And these cathedrals, palaces or public monuments as well were built using carved blocks of stone or marble.

Italy (detail - Architecture Allegorie -hard stone marqueterie - painting from Giuseppe Zocchi)

So here is a visual world tour of some of these carvers and sculptors, their tools, their workshops or studios and a selection of some marble and other stone quarries. Let start with some stone carvers, through photographs, old postcards, paintings, drawings, and even marqueterie with hard stone!

Italy (Architecture allegorie - this is an impressive hard stone marqueterie based on a painting from Giuseppe Zocchi - we will write more about him later on).

France - Bastia, in Corsica

Middle-age drawings:

 Russia - Moscow
 France - Amiens
Dated 1425

USA - Queens - NYC
 USA - Indiana - Limestone blocks, 1929.
 USA - Manhattan NYC, 1905
 USa - Washington, 1854
 USA - Prisoners in the State Prison of Massachusetts

India - Assam, 1920
 China - Guangzou, 1790
 Japan - artist Wada Sanzo, 1883-1967
Mexico - Diego Rivera drawing

Mexico  - Carl Pappe 1936


Sources :
Site de Pierres-Info  
Histoire des Arts et des Métiers

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Gay mormon sculptor Trevor Southey

Trevor Southey was an artist, sculptor, painter, print maker, and also a gay Mormon, with a passion for the human form and male body, as we will see in the numerous sculptures, and some drawings, selected for this post.

He came out as gay in 1982, aged 42, which ended his marriage.

Summer is a pride period in many countries. To remember, and pursue, the fight to end discriminations against the LGBT community, and defend the right to love who we choose. So I thought it was a good opportunity to mention Trevor Southey, who became a gay icon in his Utah community, as you will see.

Southey's origin is from European colonists who arrived in South Africa in the 17th century.
He was born in 1940 in Zimbabwe. It is said he became a Mormon 'after hearing four missionaries singing in harmony and learning of the religion's belief in the divinity of man'.

He emigrated to the USA when he was 25, started art classes during two years at the Brighton College of Art in Sussex, England, then one year in South Africa, and then before receiving two degrees at the Brigham Young University, where he was a teacher until 1977. He then pursued an independent career, and gave some drawing classes as well.

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts Executive Director Gretchen Dietrich mentioned that Southey loved the human form, even though it was considered old-fashioned at that time.

''It was a passion that sometimes put him at odds with the administration of BYU, which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He wasn’t allowed to have his students paint from nude models and, once, a painting he submitted to a faculty art show caused quite a stir, according to his longtime friend Utah Sen. Jim Dabakis.

Dabakis said the dean persuaded Southey to paint over the naughty bits of that nude image using latex paint, which students quickly learned to peel off.

“I’ve always expressed my ideals as if I were living and painting in Renaissance Italy, not puritanical heartland America,” Southey told the Tribune in 2010.

In 1982, 15 years after his marriage, Southey came out as gay, in full honesty and transparency. A wonderful example for many people who may hesitate. He died aged 75 in Salt Lake city.

Trevor Southey sculpture illustrates the Anthology of Gay Mormon Fiction (25 short stories about what it means to be both Mormon and gay). ''Some portray characters determined to reconcile their sexuality with the Mormon faith in accordance with its constantly evolving teachings and policies. The majority present the realities of gay/lesbian Mormons who have come to terms with their sexuality in a variety of alternative ways. Others are written from outside the Mormon community, commenting on often strange encounters with Mormons who are gay.''

There is a comprehensive book about Trevor Southey artwork, called 'Reconciliation' and available also in a collector's version (see below) with a bronze bas-relief insert on the cover.

Sources :
LGBTQ nation

Trevor Southey studio blog
Trevor Southey website
Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Trevor Southey book

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Icarus (3) Recent & contemporary sculptures

Below is the large statue of Icarus and Daedalus in Creta, located at Agia Galini, where it is said Icarus and Daedalus escaped from the King Minos.

With regard to the contemporary versions, I subjectively selected some works that all had Icarus as their title, to avoid the numerous 'flying' or 'angels' versions that may express similar poses but may not have been conceived with a link to the Icarus myth.

Stefan Balkenhol - Icarus - Bronze sculpture - 2006

Lucianne Lassalle - Icarus - Bronze sculpture - 2013

Lucianne Lassalle - Icarus - Bronze sculpture - 2013

Leo Krajden - American artist - Icarus 2012

Leather sculpture - author unknown

Igor Mitoraj - He did numerous Icarus versions, some already shared in this blog here. Here are three more!

Ira Reines was born in New York in 1957, and worked with Art Deco Master Erte.
Below his 'Icarus'.

Frank Eliscu (1912–1996) was an American sculptor and art teacher who designed and created the Heisman Trophy in 1935 when he was only 20 years old. It is one of the greatest honors a college athlete can receive.  Eliscu also is represented in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Below his Icarus. Is it the sun he is holding in his right hand ?

Anna Gillespie - British sculptor born in 1964 - Icarus - (with a hint on globalwarming).

Csilla Varga, born in Hungary in 1975 and lives in London, England. Sculpture of Icarus, visible at Neil Peat Gallery.
And the last ones for this post are some Icarus sculptures for the Air Force.
Here below for the Wright Patterson Air Force Museum (Illinois, USA).

And here in Hungary, at the Air Force HQ in Zenun near Belgrade.