Friday, August 21, 2009

Sculpture and Lineage of 2,500 Years

I began this clay panel as a demonstration at the Hughes Water Garden Water Lily Festival. It's a copy of a terra cotta building fragment (bottom photo) from the Architectural Heritage Center's Architecture in Bloom, Botanical Building Ornament.

Working on this panel, it dawned on me that this abundant floral patterning of acanthus leaf and blossoms is a sculpture genre that goes back at least 2500 years to the Romans, and the Greeks before them.

Copying has a bad reputation these days, but carefully copying the original was like taking a master class in sculpture. Everything in this releif is organized in terms of rhythms and counter rhythms. It is so musical. Doing my best to reproduce it exactly, I learned a lot. The sweetest thing was the realization that I'm a part of such a long tradition of nature art. We really are a part of the living green world.

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