The Athlete, a Torso
The above and following images are of a torso that I recently finished. The work was carved in alabaster. Very often the sculptor produces a model first in clay or plaster to act as a guide for the carving. The original clay sketch that I did for this piece had to be abandoned after discovering a fault in the stone. So the resulting torso was carved directly. The contrast created by the strong veining of the stone was distracting so I tinted the piece to harmonize the local coloring.
The challenge of creating a fragment is to infer the whole while expressing the essential. The torso is the core shape of life, both physically and symbolically. How the limbs are truncated are important to express both the whole proportion and the movement.
Any work of art is the result of a series of choices. The artist’s sensibility is expressed not only through execution, composition and bravura, but emphasis. The female torso, beyond the prerequisite anatomical attributes, should express the ‘feminine.’ For me the essential of the feminine is in the approach to modeling. A lot of sculptors today equate quality with ‘accuracy’ and ‘anatomical correctness.’ Unfortunately, the results are often schematic summations and/or particular topographical renderings of the female body. The sensual, the supple and harmonious life force that the female represents are missing. The ancients understood this and the perfect synthesis of form, function, purpose and reality are fundamental elements of what we now call the ‘Classical.’
Art after all is a manifestation of the divine emotion of love through beauty. The true ‘Classical’ is a set of priorities that reflects this.
This piece will be available at the Galleria Cipriani in Florence, Italy. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, please come visit.