Perseus with the Head of Medusa & Faun Teased by Children

Topics: Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Rome, Fountain Pages: 5 (1690 words) Published: December 14, 2012
Nadia Gondal
Prof. Del Almo
ARHS- 106

Perseus with the head of Medusa
Faun Teased by Children

Choosing a specific piece of art to write about is not the easiest task. Art is so subjective and there are so many different types and styles from which to choose. My own personal preference tends toward the classic; structure over abstract. I would have to say the thing that most impresses me about any artwork is the skill and the craftsmanship put into a piece. When I say craftsmanship I mean the ability to create something at the highest level that that person is able to produce. Craftsmanship means superior skill coupled with ability and attention to detail, that produces a piece that is more than just pretty, or full of symbolic meaning.

The sculpture that I choose is a good example of craftsmanship. An artist by the name of Gian Lorenzo Bernini created the sculpture Bacchanal: Faun Teased by Children in the early seventeenth century when he was eighteen years old; it was created of marble and is a little over four feet high. While people could possibly find symbolic meaning in each part of the sculpture I concentrated on the details of the actual piece.

I loved this work because it seemed unusual and more fluid than other static pieces that I’ve seen. It has three children and a grown man, a lizard and a lion all in various positions around a grape laden tree. The man is in an interesting position, half twisted, supporting part of his weight on his left arm behind him, his right arm above his head gripping a branch. His left leg is stretched out and ahead of him with the left foot on another branch, and his right leg supports most of the rest of his weight. Two children are a bit above his head one with a hand on the man’s forehead and the other child holding onto his companion. The third child is atop the lion at the bottom of the piece. You can see the details of each grape, the wrinkles on the lizard, as well as the tendons on the man. In additional a lion headed garment is draped over a branch. The details include the curling hair of the three children, the faun, the live lion and the garment’s lion head. Each character, up to and including the tree, has been carved with detail and accuracy. The man and children all appear to have a shine to them as well as an almost mottled coloring while the tree wasn’t polished in the same manner and seems matte as well as a solid creme/ivory color.

Faun Teased by Children is a sculpture based on mythology; fauns are creatures of nature, normally with a tail of a goat and small goat horns on their forehead. This sculpture while being visually realistic portrays fantasy. Lions do not eat grapes and fauns do not exist. Even the tree shown seems fantastic and far from mundane. The sections of grapes look good enough to eat, with delicate leaves and vines trailing along the branches. My eye was drawn from one detail to the next. The artist created this piece out of marble, which means he had to carve every inch that is shown. At 52 inches height, that is a lot of marble to carve.

Perseus with the Head of Medusa: This piece, made to replicate the Greek classical style, stands tall in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This sculpture, created by Antonio Canova in marble, was done in the early nineteenth century. Historically, the tale of Perseus and how he killed the beast-woman, Medusa, is from eons before, however, the artist chose to recreate this scene from Greek mythology. In addition, Canova uses many techniques that were used by Greek sculptors, his use of detailed anatomy, a combination of stoicism and portrayals of anguish, stiff posture, contrapposto and the draping of the fabric around Perseus' arms.

Perseus stands rigidly, looking at the head of Medusa. His expression is unchanged. One leg bends toward her head, but it does so in a rigid, uncomfortable manner. He holds his sword out on his right, and her head on his left. Fabric is draped...
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