Museum Essay

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Teresa Heflin
Literature of the American West
22 April 2013
Examining a Work of Art
The Rattlesnake is Frederic Hemington’s newest bronze work. This piece is located in the Sid Richardson Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. Hemington created this bronze work in 1904 to tell the dramatic story of the American West. The Rattlesnake is Frederic Hemington’s 12th and final bronze piece, however many consider it one of his best. Hemington created this piece later in his life; it shows the fierce motion of the bronco, which is comparable to the startled horse in A Taint on the Wind that was also painted the same year. In this bronze piece, Remington shows a cowboy on a bronco, with an aggressive looking rattlesnake on the ground ready to attack the horse. All of the bodies in the work, the cowboy, the bronco, and the rattlesnake show an element of shock. The rider shows the shock by grabbing his hat, which looks like he almost lost. The rider also looks incredibly unbalanced. The work of Frederic displays the horse in a defensive position in reference to the aggressively statured snake. The horse is extremely surprised, shown by the intense and halting position it is sculpted in. In this day in age, broncos were very susceptible to rattlesnake bites, especially while traveling great distances. The mainstream believe is that broncos will pummel the snake with its hoofs, however broncos do shy away from rattlesnakes, with this being said Remington demonstrates the truth very well. Lastly, the sculpting of the snake is exceptional. Hemington displays the true aggression of the snake by showing the rattlesnake in the coiled striking position, very close to the bronco. The Rattlesnake is the perfect demonstration of battle, hazard, and realism suspended in motion. The bronze piece of art must be looked at from several angles to appreciate the significant details at all sides of the sculpture. Each angle demonstrates a different set of details in the horse, cowboy, and snake...
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