Dinu had considered the portfolio below before the meeting. A really interesting conversation ensued from his observation that there was a lot of powerful characterisation of gesture in my work.
Dinu recommended I consider how the Renaissance artists studied gesture when they were preparing to paint their portraits. For him the image set above that really caught his eye was the Len and Karen in Detail. This lead him to talk about Michaelangelo’s statue of David and Francis Bacon’s work on the Space Frame.
Dinu then pulled up the statue of David and described the gesture elements of the posture. I include referenced text below from an analysis of the posture which follows a similar line. The idea that emerged was to have other media such as voice or clips of an analysis of the gestural elements of something like the Statue of David. A number of things happen then. The viewer sees the work in the context of small person facing unbeatable giant. That small person being me and the Giant being my wife’s MS. As viewers are guided to think about the Statue of David then similarly it will impact the way they think about the work I am presenting.
Analysis of Statue of David (Visual Arts Cork. 2020).
In starting this work, the young master committed a serious error. Forgetting that only adults can be subject to enlargement, as required for a monolith, he took for his model a young boy who was incompletely developed. That is why the statue has a certain emptiness which clashes with its colossal dimensions. The posture of the figure is most simple. Considering the dimensions of the block, a moving pose and violent gestures would have compromised the balance. Perhaps the state of advancement of the work when Michelangelo took delivery of the monolith did not leave him enough volume to work with either. It was obviously a tour de force to have extracted from this mass in the form of an extremely long rectangle, a figure as noble and lively as his David.
David stands with his right leg holding his full weight and his other leg relaxed. This classic stance – a position called contrapposto – makes his hips and shoulders rest at opposite angles, lending his torso a slight s-curve. With his left leg slightly forward, the young hero – or one might perhaps say the young god – lets his right arm hang loose halfway down his thigh, while his left arm is bent to shoulder height. With a bold look but a reflective expression, firm footed he awaits his adversary Goliath, calmly calculating, like a true Florentine, the chances of combat, while preparing for attack.
True, the proportions of the statue are not typical of Michelangelo’s usual work: the figure, for instance, has an oversized head and hands. But these excessive dimensions may have been deliberately planned in order to be visible from its intended position on the rooftop of Florence Cathedral.
Above all, it was the massive scale of the statue that awed the spectators, including Michelangelo’s artistic contemporaries. It was actually the first monumental free-standing statue to be carved since late Roman times. The famous Mannerist artist and biographer Giorgio Vasari (1511-74) thought that the work excelled all ancient and modern statues in the history of sculpture.
Visual Arts Cork. 2020. Statue of David – Analysis – [online] available at http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/sculpture/david-by-michelangelo.htm (Accessed: August 4th, 2020).
Statue of David Image. 2020. [online] available at https://www.dropbox.com/s/l2swszzz0hw09jh/Screenshot%202020-08-05%2012.55.51.png?dl=0 (accessed: August 4th, 2020).
Categories: Final Major Project, Positions and Practice, Project Development FMP