Saturday, June 17, 2006

Equestrian sculpture

I was biking along the lake this afternoon --- and finally had to take a few shots at my fellow Ohio/Illinois boy: Ulysses S. Grant. -- on a 20-foot platform overlooking Lake Michigan.

I've seen this statue many times over the years -- and ruefully comparing it to the equestrians of Gattamelata (Donatello), Colleoni (Verocchio) or Marcus Aurelius -- I guess I always felt a bit disappointed.

But feeling more charitable as I now do towards those who fall short of greatness -- I now have to pay my respects because -- if not great -- it is very, very good.

And now -- I've learned that the sculptor, Louis T. Rebisso (1837-1899) taught sculpture at the Art Academy of Cincinnati about 70 years before my father did.

I think I'd call this "cinematic sculpture" --i.e. it's effective like a still-frame from a good movie -- it's a convincing drama -- an epic drama of heros and profound events -- but it's only good for a glance --- you can't settle into it -- like with the three famous equestrians mentioned above -- and it doesn't draw that most enjoyable response of "oh --- my --- god"

And if you're interested in equestrian sculpture -- you really should visit the entry in Wikipedia -- which is a wonderfully comprehensive worldwide survey of the subject -- much of it compiled by my favorite "scholar without portfolio", Einar Einarsson, A.K.A. "Carptrash" -- who lives in a trailer in the desert of New Mexico and studies public sculpture.


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