Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Art Institute: American Sculpture Gallery, White Marble

She's a vision in white marble, leaning proudly from one shin, embedded in marble cloud. Body piqued, her other leg stretched loosely behind her, toe curled. One tense hand is at her side, cupping air, while the other is raised to her brow in a moment of searching grace. She's looking for something far in the distance, perhaps. And I wonder who modeled for the artist, looking at this easy grace in statue. Who stood in a cold room somewhere, hand raised, abdominals aching, foot tingling? She must have had impressively symmetrical breasts.

Across the from the lost girl, as I will now call her, a milkmaid is leaning forward, calling. Or is she listening? Either way, her hand crosses her body to cup an ear, her weight appears pressed on a brittle white stick. One shoulder bare as her dress slips low, buttocks somehow visible beneath stone skirts. Isn't that just like a man, to take the time to clothe a sculpture but make the essence of bare bottom evident beneath?

Between the lost girl and the milkmaid, a great pale bust of a noble queen sits tall on its pedestal. She gazes coldly ahead, nipples clearly forward in the heavy draping of her dress.

The only modest girl in this room has a veil and collar, carries a tambourine. She is comfortably seated on a rock. At least the prude was comfortable.

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