Tag Archives: sculpture

A Terror of Cherubs

The only collective noun possible. I hate cherubs, hate their fat little bodies that no wings could possibly get off the ground, hate the mawkish sentimentality that they represent in a period where poverty was so high and infant mortality even higher. So I did not take pictures of the ubiquitous things until I could no longer help myself due to their ridiculousness. It could well be the result of the concupiscence of adult statues that fills Prague
IMG_9466
These are quite hilarious, and in spite of myself possibly endearing, in their silly state on either side of a grandiose balcony:IMG_8640

IMG_8641Some more
IMG_9347
And even more
IMG_9311
An explosion of them in seemingly unconnected pieces from what seems like the very mouth of hell on the side of a church:
IMG_9592
The worst is that our excursion into the Savarin Palace to visit the Museum of Communism revealed there are as many inside these Baroque monstrosities as there are outside:
IMG_8957
And they didn’t stop with the Baroque, disturbingly enough:
IMG_9312
This is only a slight taste of the cherub flesh surrounding you at all times, but I’ll leave you with a couple of more tasteful pictures that give a glimpse of the city, as I haven’t yet done that!
IMG_8901

IMG_8902

Save

Prague’s Erogenous Zones

The exuberance of rococo nudity in Prague is stunning, in every sense of the term. Large well-endowed women stare down at you from facade after facade with only their stoney flesh to keep them warm:

IMG_9386 IMG_9387

Not my favourite style, but it is carried out with such panache I could not help but be impressed, if only with its absurdity:

IMG_9424

I have never seen suggestively positioned, naked and possibly pregnant women used as supports for heavy masonry. The symbolism (or lack of it) fairly boggles the mind unlike the use of Atlas-type figures. They are wearing fish on their heads, however, so I suppose some symbolism is involved, as must also be the case for this guy with a chicken on his head (apologies he too is not nude, we’ll get to the men soon):

IMG_9580

Birds are almost as common as naked human beings, and sometimes they came together

IMG_8669With the rococo I simply shrug, though the scale and imagination was most impressive. Unsurprisingly you can only see so many naked women without ceasing to be aware of them or continue taking pictures. What was striking, however, was that this nudity continues on through the ages. There are some beautiful and extremely saucy art nouveau facades, different from anything I have seen before:

IMG_9318 IMG_9359
And statues as well
IMG_9427

But the social realists have also gotten into the act — though a little more chastely:

IMG_8952 IMG_8606

Modern sculpture is of course also represented:

IMG_9588

We also found a splendid sign, unique in everything but the nudity, which could equally well predate or postdate everything else pictured here:

IMG_8814

But it is not just the woman’s body that is celebrated, though the ladies far outnumber everyone else. This particular celebration has been painted so that it is camouflaged as much as possible, which is exactly what called my attention to it after such a surfeit of flaunting breasts over residential edifices:

IMG_9649I also loved this nonchalant (although well covered) pose on Prague’s famous Municipal House off of Namesti Republiky:

IMG_8950

Perhaps some of the most hilarious images are of men and their favourite bits — everyone’s favourite bits apparently:

IMG_8877
While at Ještěd Tower in Liberec there was a similar phenomenon, alien but very very male:

IMG_9072
More penii and grinning laughing tourists were to be found in front of the Kafka Museum:

IMG_8737

It was funny to later that same day run into this suspect statue up at the castle:

IMG_8894
Altogether there is one almighty celebration of the human body happening all over Prague. Next — the unfortunate result.

Save

The Monsters of Southwark Cathedral

They crouch beneath the eaves, bright proud glances and power full grown

Southwark Cathedral

They claw their way out through cracks in the flint and the stone of the walls. Emerge slowly, heavy lidded and weary as from a womb, their taloned limbs still to grow into the promise of their massive heads.

Southwark Cathedral

They mourn their sunlit exile from the river’s dark waters, their reduction to mere channels and spouts and perches for pigeons

Southwark Cathedral

And there is madness, tucked into cornered arrays of angles and planes and nothing means anything but the torrent of water that rushes through its vessel paying no mind to the vacant staring eyes

Southwark Cathedral

Endlessly, violently relieved of the weight of memory and ages by the mighty rushing of waters, relieved even of the precise crags of their own face.

The pigeons remain unafraid.

Save

Art, gods and stone

Creation awes me, the act of it. And what we have the capacity to create. And both the time span and scope of humankind’s run on earth. I love how things are so much the same and yet so very different…we all love, but the ideal of love is different. We all fear, but the form of our fears is different. We all speak, but language is so different, and I wonder how much we are shaped by these things, how much of them we shape, how the shaping happens.

I went to the British Museum the last day in London, I’ve been there before but every time I go I see new things that I fall in love with, that remain in my memory. And this visit I found several panels like this, that I know I have seen before but never loved

Figures drawn from stone, once alive, and now disappearing. And they linger as they go, they would have been already gone if they had not been stolen. And to me their true beauty lies in this return, this state halfway between sculpture and stone…they remind me of Michelangelo’s slaves escaping from the marble, unfinished. But the slaves are an emergence and these represent a death and I find both hauntingly beautiful. And they fascinate me with the confusion between rock and flesh.

The British Museum is overwhelming of course, after a short time the mind stops taking in things really, overburdened with beauty in glass cases. There was also a stunning display of American prints and etchings from Hopper to Pollock…I love black and white drawings and etchings as well and their collection is fantastic. Go see it if you can.

The other things that stood out this trip? Hawks. I love them in their beauty and purity and unconscious cruelty, they are ultimate predators and represent freedom in a way that few other animals can…and I found this

from ancient Egypt, and this:

from ancient assyria, and this

er…from China perhaps? China I think, or possibly Tibet. And each haunting in its own way, showing something deep rooted to be found across such space and time, something profound. I’ve been trying to write it but my words erase its profundity so I shall just leave it for the now.

Still, I have never been to the British museum when the sun was shining, and that itself was beautiful, the architecture is cold and neo-classical, but the light made it beautiful.