Cupid Playing with a Butterfly
by Antoine-Denis Chaudet (1763 – 1810)
Marble, 1802-1807 | Louvre, Paris
Chaudet went to the seine river in Paris to look for a model for this masterpiece. Approaching the young nude Parisian boys swimming. There was a misunderstanding about what he wanted from a nude young boy. This landed him in jail.
The pose, the almost suave charm of the face, the delicate fingers, the refined treatment of the hair: everything expresses sensitivity, reserve, and grace. The sculptor has achieved a subtle balance between nature and the ideal, inherited from the 18th century.
Cupid is portrayed as a naked, unarmed adolescent whose sole attributes are his short wings. He seems to be engrossed in an innocent pastime. His amusement is not as harmless as it seems, though; the butterfly allowing itself to be seduced by his rose symbolizes the soul, Psyche in Greek. Imprisoned by Cupid, the soul soon experiences love’s torments rather than its pleasures. The graceful bas-relief friezes on the base develop the theme: if the butterfly tastes the juice of a basket of flowers, it is pinned down by chubby little cupids, one of whom enslaves it by harnessing it to his chariot. But the soul finally triumphs thanks to the bees: infuriated by the arrows shot at their hive, they swarm all over the cheeky imps. These scenes are inspired by the Idylls of Theocritus (3rd century BC), the most famous Greek poet of the Alexandrian era, and the delicateness of the carving expresses all their bucolic charm. [Louvre]
Of the many happy campers at the record-demolishing (and economy-confounding) Sotheby’s auction last night, Takashi Murakami may have been the happiest. Drawing stares from art-world veterans — one told us she’d never seen an artist show up to watch his own work on the block — the Japanese Pop maestro sat in the back of the room with a serene smile as My Lonesome Cowboy, his larger-than-life sculpture of a boy waving an ejaculate lasso, brought in $15.2 million.
Neapolitan Fisherboy Playing with a Tortoise
by François Rude (1784 – 1855)
Marble, 1831-1833 | Louvre, Paris
Rudes great success dates from 1833, when he received the cross of the Legion of Honour for his statue of a Neapolitan Fisher Boy playing with a Tortoise (now in the Louvre), which also procured for him the important commission for all the sculptural frieze ornament and one group on the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris. [Source: Wikipedia]
I felt in love with neoclassical sculputures when I saw this boy in Paris on a school trip. I was 14 and too young (I guess) to get excited about paintings but these plastic boys got my attention immediately. I stood there in front of this boy with mixed feelings… his face, his look was so natural… it was kinda spooky in a good, a wonderful way. On the other hand I felt a bit guilty cause I thought everybody who’s seeing me standing there had to think I’m just looking at his dick
This cheerful boy, playing with a tortoise held captive by a reed, caused heated controversy at the Salon of 1833. For the first time, an artist had sculpted a lifesize marble of a picturesque figure, an anecdotal subject. It marked a complete break with classical ideology, whereby genre scenes were considered to be unworthy of statuary art, especially in a medium as noble as marble. Rude’s theme and style also contradicted classical canons. Although reminiscent of antique sculpture, the work was imbued with an unprecedented feeling of freedom and freshness. The boy is naked like the heroes of mythology, but his body is not idealized and his hearty laugh reveals his teeth, a real breach of good taste. The tradition of representing children at play did exist in Hellenistic sculpture, but Rude emphasized the popular, lively aspect of his depiction. The child seated on a net is a young fisher boy, whose bonnet and scapular (the devotional object around his neck) show that he is from Naples. His attitude is carefree and his entire face – crinkled eyes, dimples, open mouth – is laughing. [Louvre]
Today is the day of Herne – also called Pan, Cernunnos or just the Horned Lord. He is the God of woodland beasts, the hunt, fertility and the forest… and he is a lusty one for sure So don’t forget to take a walk into the forest today (maybe you’ll see a faun), jump around a little bit and just feel alive!
Er erscheint in der Mittagshitze, der antiken Geisterstunde – daher die panische Angst. Ein Einzelgänger, Freund und Schrecken der Hirten, irrlichternd, dessen Gestalt sich vom Ziegenbock zum melancholischen Jüngling mit kaum noch erkennbaren Hörnern wandelte, der aber in der antiken Götterwelt immer ein Fremder blieb und für die Menschen ein Symbol der Natur in ihrer Unberechenbarkeit und Schönheit: ein Wesen aus der Wildnis.