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Monday, November 12, 2012

Sculpture and the Muse'e d'Orsay

Ahh, the things that last are Art, fragments of Poetry, and snarky put-downs.

I'm reading the book Orsay Sculpture by Anne Pingeot.
Pingeot, a curator of sculpture at the Louvre, was instrumental in creating the d'Orsay Museum.

She's also a good writer.

In the chapter on Neoclassicism, she's explains that the style was important in the Second Empire because it flattered the current regime with the reflected glory of ancient Rome.  She admits that this grand style representing moral virtues often ran out of steam.

"This was true in the case of James Pradier who 'sets out every morning for Athens and arrives every evening in the Breda District'" (a district of Paris famous for prostitution) as the sculptor August Preault mockingly put it.

That line took my breath away.
I wonder what 21st Century art smack-downs will be remembered in 150 years?
Photos are not permitted in the d'Orsay, but I broke the rule for this sculpture.
This isn't Pradier's work, and it's not NeoClassical. It might be Jules Coutan's work.

I turned the corner and burst out laughing and then felt guilty. 
The craftsmanship is superb, it's beautifully executed, but it's so over the top hysterical.

This sculpture demonstrates two things clearly. 
1. That peaks of action and high drama are not the best subjects for sculpture.
2. How much tastes change. This sculpture is it's own 90 minute jungle movie.

5 comments:

Theresa Cheek said...

Call me dorky, but I love this piece! That tail hanging down is just killer!

Deb said...

I'm empathising with the mother of twins. Feeling like I've been there.

Patrick Gracewood said...

Deb, proving that you always take the higher ground. Moral and otherwise...good survival strategy.

Patrick Gracewood said...

Theresa, How can refined late 19th Century sculpture become folk art?

I love this piece too.

Hard to know how people perceived it at the time, but now it's impossible to see it NOT though the lenses of its themes: Colonialism, racisim, noble savages, global exploration...

Now it is the equivalent of a mash up mix tape, which adds to its tremendous vitality...and humor.

Deb said...

Just a little lonely up here without Elmo and Petraeus.