What place for public statues in the history of art?
What is it about statues? Most obviously, sculpture &ndash not least the statue &ndash has been understood as a predominantly public art and those images that have been the focus for recent protests have been in public spaces. As Byron remarked (albeit of the portrait bust rather than the statue), a portrait sculpture &lsquosmacks something of a hankering for public fame rather than private remembrance&rsquo and, unlike the painted portrait, &lsquolooks like putting up pretensions to permanency&rsquo. The avowed purpose of portrait sculpture has traditionally been, in the words of the 18th-century sculptor Etienne-Maurice Falconet, &lsquoto perpetuate the memory of illustrious men and to give us models of virtue&rsquo. But, as many recognised at the time, those commemorated in this way were often far from being &lsquomodels of virtue&rsquo. The claim that a statue represented a subject worthy of respect and admiration meant that it could easily be mocked or attacked, and it is hardly surprising that within the history of iconoclasm &ndash a significant part of the history of responses to images &ndash statues and their downfall figure prominently. The suggestion of permanency also went with the materials employed, above all marble or bronze, and this claim to longevity invited challenge or rebuttal, as poets from Horace to Pope and Shelley have recognised.
As well as being often set up in public spaces, statues are not contained within frames like painted portraits but share the same space as the spectator. Though distanced by being set on plinths, so emphasising their authority, the setting of these images allowed their viewing to be to some degree unmediated. It is this apparent directness that can affront or startle, hence the trope of statues being perceived as being alive. But exterior, urban settings were not the only locations for sculptural commemoration. Henry Cheere&rsquos statue of the plantation owner, Christopher Codrington, for example, was set up in the library that bears his name at All Souls College in Oxford. (In 2018 All Souls installed a plaque that explicitly acknowledges the sources of Codrington&rsquos wealth in the entrance of the library.) Nor did statues necessarily stand alone. The image of William Beckford, another figure whose riches came from sugar plantations in Jamaica, forms part of a large monument in the Guildhall in London. Some of the most imposing monuments set up in the 18th century are to be found in churches, not least Westminster Abbey. Many of those commemorated, as contemporary satirists endlessly pointed out, were far from exemplary or even distinguished, their monuments and the inscriptions upon them amounting to what Pope described as &lsquoSepulchral lies&rsquo.
Many of those whose public statues are currently under scrutiny were also commemorated in such spaces. The contemporary monument to Colston was not the bronze recently toppled from its plinth &ndash that was put up as recently as 1895 &ndash but Michael Rysbrack&rsquos magnificent effigy of 1729 in the church of All Saints in Bristol, while, only feet away from Thomas Guy&rsquos bronze statue in the courtyard at Guy&rsquos Hospital, is a fine monument to him inside the chapel. Among the most inventive works by John Bacon, this shows Guy, almost a self-standing statue, placed against a relief of the hospital, and reaching down to a single figure representing the sick and poor. Statues such as Peter Scheemakers&rsquo figure of Guy (in the hospital&rsquos courtyard) or Sir Richard Westmacott&rsquos Robert Milligan, which are seen as individual public images, form part of a broader continuum of sculptural portraiture, though it is understandable that it is those in urban situations that have attracted most attention recently.
Monument to Thomas Guy (1779), John Bacon, in the chapel at Guy&rsquos Hospital, London. Photo: Apollo
All these images &ndash though some more tellingly than others &ndash belong to a larger history of British art, along with the painted portraits representing many of the same subjects. To point out the aesthetic quality of some of these sculptures is not to suggest that statues should be valued only as autonomous works of art without regard for the connotations they originally had or, equally importantly, those which they have acquired since their erection. Many public statues &ndash Sir Francis Chantrey&rsquos bronze of William Pitt the Younger at the junction of George Street and Dundas Street in Edinburgh, for instance &ndash play a dynamic role within urban landscapes, as well as being distinguished works of sculpture in their own right. Such settings are important for the staging of sculpture and condition its viewing. Others, especially some executed in the 18th century by sculptors such as Rysbrack or Louis François Roubiliac, deserve to take their place within the canon of British art, despite the fact that neither name is as familiar Hogarth or Reynolds. While contemporaries in the mid 18th century may have mocked the grandiosity of some monuments and the insignificance of those they commemorated, the increasing recognition of the aesthetic qualities of many of these works is clear. By the late 18th century guidebooks to Westminster Abbey were putting as much emphasis on the &lsquoinvention&rsquo apparent in the composition and execution of recently erected monuments as on the achievements of those commemorated and described in the epitaphs inscribed on them. As Oliver Goldsmith&rsquos fictional Chinese traveller comments in The Citizen of the World (1762), on &lsquonew monuments erected to the memory of several great men [&hellip] such monuments as these confer honour, not upon the great men, but upon little Roubillac [sic]&rsquo.
The cast of Michael Rysbrack&rsquos statue of Hans Sloane (original 1737) in the Chelsea Physic Garden, London
Although the tradition of erecting family monuments in churches was of course a long-standing one, the erection of monuments to figures other than the monarch became far more frequent in the 18th century, so coinciding with the expansion of the slave trade and the growth in wealth derived from it. One emergent category of statue comprised statues to benefactors. Among them were Grinling Gibbon&rsquos Robert Clayton (for St Thomas&rsquo Hospital), Scheemakers&rsquo Thomas Guy (for Guy&rsquos Hospital), Rysbrack&rsquos Dr John Radcliffe (in the Radcliffe Camera in Oxford) and Hans Sloane (formerly in the Chelsea Physick Garden, now in the British Museum), and Roubiliac&rsquos Sir John Cass. Since all apart from Radcliffe had benefitted to varying degrees from the slave trade, each of these statues may retrospectively be seen as tainted. At the same time, they together show how what had been a limited genre was being reconfigured in new ways.
The animation of the statue &ndash involving movement that engaged the viewer in unexpected ways &ndash was indeed one of the striking and innovative features of sculptural portraiture at this time. Nowhere was this more evident than in statues to thinkers, writers and others who owed their fame to their creative achievements, so constituting a new type of subject. With figures such as Roubiliac&rsquos Handel (made for Vauxhall Gardens and now in the V&A) or Rysbrack&rsquos John Locke (on the library stairs at Christ Church, Oxford), sculptors raised their aesthetic game as well as the standing of the statue as a genre. This was recognised at the time by some acute observers. Commenting in 1755 on the recently erected statue by Roubiliac of Newton at Trinity College, Cambridge, John Nevile asserts that &lsquoI never saw so much life in any statue before,&rsquo and, in a detailed account citing Hogarth&rsquos recently published Analysis of Beauty (1753), praises it as &lsquoa masterpiece of the kind&rsquo with an &lsquoan attitude [that] is the most easy and graceful you can imagine&rsquo. Increasingly, statues and other forms of sculpture were being viewed in aesthetic terms. While a great portrait by Hogarth, such as that of Captain Coram in the Foundling Museum, may be familiar to anyone interested in 18th-century British art, the same cannot be said be said of Roubiliac&rsquos Newton, even though it is just as impressive and innovative an image. At their best, statues by Roubiliac and Rysbrack show a conventional and fairly static genre being newly animated and endowed with a drama to which spectators accustomed to the acting of David Garrick responded so readily. Likewise, their marble surfaces are worked with a new subtlety that invites close and sustained viewing. This reconfiguration of the statue&rsquos familiar conventions in works such as Rysbrack&rsquos Locke or Roubiliac&rsquos Newton brought to British sculpture a new complexity and ambition.
Statue of Isaac Newton (1755), Louis François Roubiliac, at Trinity College, Cambridge.
As we talk about statues in terms of their subjects, and rightly question the implicit claims made by the genre to celebrate &lsquomodels of virtue&rsquo, should we not look at some of them more attentively as sculptures? It is ironic that some of the most remarkable examples have been almost entirely ignored, not only by those who have walked past them daily, but also by the majority of art historians. Perhaps readers returning to the British Library might even give more than a passing glance to Roubiliac&rsquos statue of Shakespeare (albeit now sadly deprived of its original plinth), as they ascend the steps to the reading rooms.
Malcolm Baker is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Art History at the University of California. He is the author of The Marble Index: Roubiliac and Sculptural Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century Britain (2015), published by Yale University Press.
The Greek original of this statue is lost it was, however, described by Lucian, who noted that the statue was located in the Lyceum, Athens’ outdoor gymnasium named after Apollo’s temple. That statue leaned on a column, a bow in his left hand with his right arm curved over his head. Coins such as the tetradrachm sometimes depict Apollo Lykeios in a similar stance.
Apollo was in fact one of the most frequently portrayed male deities in the Late Classical period. Some thirty copies of the Apollo Lykeios sculpture itself survive, indicating that the original was a well-known cult image.
This particular statue is a Roman copy of the Greek original. The original has been attributed to Praxiteles, as its style closely resembles that of Hermes with the Infant Dionysus (see also: Aphrodite of Cnidos Aphrodite of Arles). In the 18th century, Bartolomeo Cavaceppi restored this statue’s arms, left leg and head. The head was in fact taken from a statue of Apollo Kitharoidos (Apollo with thekithara).
Praxiteles between history and myth
Source: Athens News
Following its Louvre debut, the 4th century BC sculptor's exhibitionreaches the National Archaeological Museum in its more compressed version
THE GREATEST sculptor of 4th century BC Attica, Praxiteles was the first to capture the female figure in the nude: a full-scale representation of Aphrodite (the so-called Cnidian statue type) modelled after Thespian courtesan Phryne. Another of his breakthroughs was that he liberated Greek sculpture from the grandiose and imposing touch of Pheidias by humanising his subjects - mostly of divine descent - in order to reflect his fascination with life and by working the fine Parian marble to a smooth, silky effect even when it came to the depiction of demonic figures such as satyrs.
A grand exhibition at the Louvre Museum in March traced Praxiteles' myth and history through the display of mainly Roman copies given that a very small number of sculptures have been identified by researchers as Praxiteles' own or as the originals of his workshop.
Though more compressed due to practical reasons, the Greek version of the Louvre show - running at the National Archaeological Museum through to October 31 - features 79 works from prestigious museums abroad, such as the Louvre in Paris, the British Museum in London, the Vatican and Capitolium museums in Rome, as well as the archaeological museums of Ancient Agora, Corinth, Vravrona, Thebes, Rhodes and Corfu.
"The main difference is that Praxiteles [the Greek version] does not feature certain works which were shown in the Louvre but has been enriched with some more exhibits," National Archaeological Museum director Nikolaos Kaltsas told the Athens News.
In addition, the Athens show has been designed to include Praxiteles' family: his father Cephisodotus the Elder and his two sons Cephisodotus the Younger and Timarchus. This dynasty of sculptors "remained active in Athens and around Greece for a period of 130 years from the end of the 5th century BC to the first quarter of the 3rd century BC", said Kaltsas.
Items on display have been arranged at the museum's four temporary exhibition halls to facilitate the viewer's transition from works which are most certainly associated to Praxiteles to the lesser, and eventually the least, certain ones.
Original works on display
Numismatic evidence - examples of which are displayed first - points to Praxiteles' practice of attributing human features to the Olympian gods. Aphrodite, Eros and Dionysus, in particular, were treated by the sculptor as symbols of the joy of life, with Aphrodite shedding her garments and Dionysus assuming the expression of a carefree, smiling youth.
A silver tetradrachm from Athens shows an owl on an amphora next to a bow-holding Apollo Lykeios. Apparently, a large number of statues made in Praxiteles' workshop were depicted on the reverse side of coins, which were issued by many Greek cities.
"Among the original works on display," said Kaltsas," are the statue bases that bear the signature of Praxiteles [Praxiteles made] and those of his father and sons, as well as three marble relief slabs [one depicting the music contest between Apollo and the satyr Marsyas, the rest representing the Three Muses] found in Mantineia, Arcadia."
Based on the writings of travel-writer Pausanias, who visited Mantineia in the 2nd century AD, most scholars agree that the three slabs together with a fourth one, which is now lost, formed the revetment of a base for the statues of Leto, Apollo and Artemis in the temple of Leto. One of the signed statue bases was discovered during excavation work for the Athens Metro and is the most recent piece associated to Praxiteles.
Among the few highlights which have been attributed to Praxiteles' circle, the much-publicised bronze statue of the Marathon Boy (found by a fisherman in the Marathon Sea) never made it to the Louvre, despite high demand as it had been characterised as 'immovable'. Affixed to its base, the statue, whose feet have partly been restored, has not ventured out of the National Archaeological Museum for decades now.
"Had it been in another museum, the Marathon Boy would not have joined the Athens show," said Kaltsas. "We were very cautious as we transferred it together with its base from one museum hall to another."
An ivory statuette of Apollo Lykeios from the Ancient Agora consisting of over 200 fragments was another risky transfer, Kaltsas noted. "It was not possible for the piece to be packaged, even more so to travel. We carried it by hand a day before the show's opening."
The Marathon Boy was not the only point of controversy between the National Archaeological Museum and the Louvre. An original bronze sculpture of Apollo Sauroktonos (translates to "The Lizard Slayer"), owned by the Cleveland Museum of Art in the US, never made it to the Louvre - or Athens - following Greece's demand to have it excluded from the show as the work's provenance and legal ownership were strongly disputed.
The Cleveland Museum of Art claims that it legally acquired the sculpture - since 1935 in the possession of German collector Ernst-Ulrich Walter - from the private collection of Lebanese brothers Hicham and Ali Aboutaam. But Italian authorities combating the looting of antiquities advocate that Polaroid pictures prove that the work was retrieved by fishermen from the Ionian Sea in the early 1990s.
If not for the world-famous marble group of Hermes with the Infant Dionysus - discovered in ancient Olympia in 1877, permanently exhibited at the Olympia Archaeological Museum and represented at Praxiteles' Athens show by a plaster cast (the only modern copy on display) - just one more sculpture, the marble head of Artemis Brauronia, is beyond any doubt attributed to Praxiteles.
The head together with one marble slab from Mantineia, two statue bases bearing Praxiteles' signature, the base of a triangular marble tripod in relief and an Aphrodite head were among the works that travelled to the Louvre prior to their Athens display.
Roman copies and statue types
At the National Archaeological Museum exhibition, originals give way to a large section of Roman copies. "In the Roman times, there was a tendency to copy classical masterpieces - not only by Praxiteles but also by Pheidias and Polykleitos - which would then serve as decoration in Roman villas," Kaltsas pointed out.
This copying fever is best illustrated through the Cnidian Aphrodite, among Praxiteles' best-known sculptures, which was painted by Praxiteles' favourite painter Nicias. "Some 300 copies of the original exist. Not all the copies follow the original's dimensions as some of them are a product of microsculpture," said Kaltsas.
For educational purposes copies have been arranged according to statue type. Apart from the Cnidian Aphrodite and the Aphrodite of Arles (one of the Arles heads bears a cross on its forehead as a result of the spread of Christianity), which have been named after their place of origin, there are copies of Centocelle Eros with the nude god holding a bow and arrow Apollo the Lizard Slayer, the god getting ready to strike a lizard against the trunk of a tree a variation of the Artemis of Braurona under the name Dresden Artemis Apollo Lykeios, a statue type that was very popular in Hellenistic and Roman times the Wine-Pouring Satyr depicted with pointed ears and an ivy wreath and Dionysus Sardanapalus, the Greek transcription of the name of the legendary king of Assyria.
Though scientific discourse regarding the statue types varies, some common ground has been reached. "The Cnidian Aphrodite and Apollo Sauroktonos are clearly attributed to Praxiteles. It is the ancient sources that point to this identification," said Kaltsas. "Very few doubts have been raised with regard to the Aphrodite of Arles, Eros Centocelle and the Reclining and Wine-Pouring Satyrs, and these are feeble. Some researchers have noted Praxitelean influences in the Artemis of Dresden and the Apollo Lykeios. The association becomes weaker when it comes to the Dionysus Sardanapalus and the Large and Small Herakleion Women."
A comparative study of the statue types on display at the National Archaeological Museum allows the viewer to draw some conclusions regarding what are considered to be the hallmarks of Praxiteles' art and - for the most inquisitive - 4th century BC sculpture: youthful, life-asserting subjects of perfect proportions, the loose S-shaped outline of the body, the use of a tree, stelae or drapery for supporting purposes.
The colossal head of Artemis Brauronia - much like the Aberdeen Head believed to represent Hermes, Heracles or another hero and not considered by scholars as an original of Praxiteles - does not follow the sculptor's style. Artemis Brauronia, the goddess of bulls, was among the earliest finds from the Acropolis excavations discovered in 1839 in the area of the sanctuary of Athena Hygeia.
"When it came to sculpting a cult work, Praxiteles would often modify his style," said Kaltsas. "Unlike the youthful depiction of Aphrodite, the goddess of bulls had to be rendered in an austere fashion."
Originally thought to depict Dionysus, the work was identified as Praxiteles' own by professor of archaeology Georgios Despinis in 1994.
* The Praxiteles exhibition is on at the National Archaeological Museum (44 Patission St, tel 210-821-7717) through to October 31. Open: Monday 1-8.30pm Tuesday-Sunday 8am-7.30pm national holidays 8.30am-3pm. Admission at 7 euros (students 3 euros)
* The exhibition's accompanying catalogue (in Greek only) is available at the museum at 45 euros
Apollo and Daphne Sculpture Analysis
The Gian Lorenzo Bernini Apollo and Daphne sculpture is astonishing. It is life sized and entirely made of marble. Housed in the Villa Borghese, the sculpture was commissioned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese. The Apollo and Daphne Bernini sculpture is said to have designed it to be seen from the right hand side.
In this way, the viewer can see the reactions of both simultaneously. It stands at 96 inches tall and depicts the moment of transition of Daphne to the laurel tree.
Honouring the gods in the classical Mediterranean realm and on its fringes
During the second Punic war, after the disasters at Lake Trasimene in 217 and at Cannae in 216, Rome's ruling class implemented a range of operations of a cultural and religious nature aimed at restoring the [ 1 ] considered requisite to a victory over Hannibal [ 2 ] . Newly introduced or more ancient divinities considered propitiatory to victory, such as Concordia or Sicily's Venus Erycina, were pressed into service. And so it was with Apollo when, in 216, after the Cannae rout it was decided to send Quintus Fabius Pictor [ 3 ] to Delphi there to consult the god's oracle. In her answer the [ 4 ] , having specified the gods and goddesses to whom supplications must be addressed, clearly stated that subject to the Romans' observance of these ritual prescriptions, « the victory in the war will be belong to the people of Rome » . A few years later in 212, another oracle, an Italic one for good measure (viz. the Carmina Marciana or Marcian prophecies), stated « Romans, if you wish to expel the enemy, and [lance] the ulcer which has come from afar, I direct, that games be vowed to Apollo, and that they be performed in honour of that deity, every year, with cheerfulness. » Accordingly, as from 212, Ludi Apollinares were celebrated on a yearly basis. In both oracles, the wording leaves no doubt as to the correlation between the god's intervention and the granting of victory. Likewise a legend that may hark back to the 2 nd century BC reports that during the celebration of the games in 211, miraculous arrows put the Carthaginian enemy to flight at the gates of Rome. For their part, Livy (XXV,12,15) and Macrobius [ 5 ] (Saturnalia, I, 17, 27) stress the fact that the games were established « in order to secure victory , not public health. »
To be sure the god who harries with his arrows an enemy the Italic oracle compares to an ulcer, or &ndash depending on translations &ndash to a plague is still the Iliad's archaic god who indifferently deals out death or health as was the Apollo Medicus to whom a temple was dedicated in the 5 th century BC. However starting with the second Punic War, his tutelary power of granting victory became increasingly dominant. That god is undoubtedly the Pythian Apollo, the Delphian god who, according to legend gained possession of his sanctuary after his victory over Python the serpent who had custody of the place. Upon his victory Apollo was given laurel branches and so the god is represented with a laurel branch or crowned with the laurels that consecrated his victory. Conveniently, the relation to the Delphic sanctuary and the triumphs of Roman [ 6 ] were two features that would mutually reinforce the Pythian god and the 2 nd century Roman ruling class in relation to each other.
In 215, upon his return from his mission in Delphi, Quintus Fabius Pictor placed on Apollo's altar in the Prata Flaminia the laurel branch and crown he had worn to consult the oracle and to perform sacrifices. It is well known that the crown of laurels was also worn by victorious Roman generals at the celebration of their triumph. For all that the Roman triumph ceremony does not stem from the cult of Apollo, at some stage the affinities extant between the triumphal procession and its associated symbolisms and the celebrations of Apollo's worship were noted. In Delphi, laurel had a purifying function likewise, according to jurist Masurius Sabinus [ 7 ] , triumphal laurel was meant to cleanse the army returning from a campaign from the pollution of spilled blood. Triumphal processions incidentally set off from the Campus Martius where the temple of Apollo was sited. These analogies, these similarities may well have struck a chord with Roman ruling class thinking, especially at the beginning of the 2nd century BC. At that time the Delphi sanctuary was the recipient of offerings from victorious Roman generals: Titus Flamininus [ 8 ] dedicated some silver shields and a gold crown circa 190. Scipio Africanus [ 9 ] , soon to be honoured by the Delphians, had dedicated to the Delphic god a part of the spoils from his 206 Spanish victory.
At the beginning of the 2 nd century, Apollo's sanctuary in Delphi was perceived in the collective mindscape as the locus of the defence of Greek civilisation against « barbarian » invaders thus providing Rome's ruling elites with a choice propaganda theme. It so happens that in 279 BC a band of Celtic raiders, who would become known as Galatians, had attacked the sanctuary. According to legend, the defence of the holy place had been ensured by the gods themselves: Apollo allegedly appeared in full epiphany, the thunder struck, the earth quaked. The victory of Delphi's god against the Galatian raiders stood as a symbol of victorious struggles against the barbarian enemy. An iconographic echo of the Delphic sanctuary myth as symbol of the victorious struggle against Barbarian invaders can be found in a statue of Apollo trampling a Galatian shield found in [ 10 ] it is consistent with the statuary of Apollo [ 11 ] as honoured in Delphi under this epiclesis.
The propaganda models that had served in the Greek world were thus redeployed by Rome during the conquest of Cisalpine Gaul against the enemy of old, the Celtic peoples. Significantly, Greek historian Polybius [ 12 ] ends the excursus of book II (35,7) of his Histories, in which he describes the wars Rome lead against the Gauls in Italy in the 4 th - 3 rd centuries, with a reference to the Greeks' wars against the Persians and the Galatians. Accordingly, as they established new colonies in Cisalpine Gaul, the representatives of Rome's elites had Apollo's effigy feature in the temples' pediments and in cult statues. In Luni, Apollo and Diana-Luna figure on the terra cotta pediment of the great temple erected in the early days of that 177 BC colony. In Piacenza (founded 218, reinforced 190) a three metre high statue in Greek marble has been found. Other representation of the god can also be sited at Cremona (founded at the same time as Piacenza), in Rimini and Aquileia ( colonies respectively founded in 268 and 181 BC). The statuary archetype for these representations is the so-called Cyrene Apollo, a variation on the Lycian Apollo created by Attic sculptor Timarchides. Now he was also the author of the statue for Rome's temple to Apollo Medicus in the Prata Flaminia which had been refurbished during the [ 13 ] of e Marcus Fulvius Nobilior [ 14 ] and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus [ 15 ] , the latter being one of Luni's founding fathers in 177. It is thus likely that the City's cult statue served as a model for the temple pediment of the colony.
Apollo, the god of light and poetry, teased Cupid about how young he was to handle the bow and arrow, terming them as very dangerous to a young boy. Apollo’s remarks evoked some spite in Cupid and as part of his revenge he pricked the god with his arrow and made him fall madly in love with a nearby river nymph Daphne. Sadly, Daphne could not fall in love with Apollo as she had devoted all her life to serving Diana and had decided to remain a virgin and unmarried.
Seeing the lust in Apollo’s eyes as he pursued her, she cried out to her father, the river god to rescue her and in turn, he turned her into a laurel tree. Apollo took home the tree as he declared that if she was not going to his lover, then she will at least be his tree. In this sculpture, Gian Lorenzo Bernini captures the exact moment when Daphne was transforming into a tree. A close look at the sculpture will reveal the transformation as seen on Daphne’s fingers turning to leaves, her toes turning into roots and the bark of a tree that is developing up her torso.
Gian has managed to capture the exact moment of Daphne’s transformation. Though the sculpture is immobile, viewers can get the sense of movement through Apollo’s hanging piece of cloth, Daphne’s hair and hands, and the two figures’ legs seem to be in motion. Bernini is known in history as the master of baroque in the 17th and the 18th century. In the Apollo and Daphne sculpture, Bernini perfectly shows the energies in the two figures, portraying motion in the sculpture. The style is also evident in the concealed lighting and shadows in the sculpture.
Apollo and Daphne sculpture has captured the emotions and tension, from the tale, as seen in the life-like action of the two figures. Bernini always manages to bring out some life in his sculptures. In the Apollo and Daphne sculpture, Bernini has focussed on features that have helped the sculpture portray human emotions and brought out the life in the sculpture. Viewers can almost see Daphne’s transformation taking place at the moment and Apollo’s shock can be seen through his fingers and facial expression.
Apollo and Daphne is a marble sculpture with life-sized dimensions. The sculpture was commissioned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese in 1622. It is now displayed at Galleria Borghese. It is believed that Giuliano Finelli was part of the creation of Apollo and Daphne sculpture. He played a huge part in creating Daphne’s transformation. In 1670, Giovanni Battista Foggini was greatly inspired by the baroque style, pioneered by Bernini, to create sculptures with the same life-like energy and emotions as seen in the Apollo and Daphne sculpture.
Apollo Statue in Place Massena
The Apollo statue that crowns the fountain at Place Massena has had his trials and tribulations, even being banned in the 70’s for being overly well-endowed…
At its grand unveiling in 1956, in front of the thousands that crowded Place Massena, the 7-meter high, 7-ton white marble statue of Apollo elicited gasps. First there were the kitschy horses on his head, but then… his masculine attributes were seen as being a bit too… embellished.
A full-on scandal ensued, and finally the sculptor, Alfred Janniot, was called back, the scaffolding was re-erected, and Apollo was, shall we say, chiseled down to size.
Apollo ‘vandalized’ with impromptu painted fig leaf in the 70’s
But the controversy over Apollo’s family jewels did not end there! He was no longer exactly out of proportion, but as the statue is nearly 4 times the size of a man, his accouterments are naturally super-sized as well, giving him an impressive look that… tends to catch the eye. So in 1979, after being frequently mocked and vandalized (see photo), a local Catholic women’s group, The League of Feminine Virtue, finally succeeded in having our man dethroned. The statue was exiled to a spot where he would be less likely to offend women’s delicate sensibilities: to the football stadium in North Nice, where he lived in obscurity for years.
In the meantime, what was left of the fountain, as beautiful as is, seemed incomplete, and when it started leaking in the early ‘90’s, it was entirely dismantled and replaced with a very under-whelming grass-covered mound with 3 puny palm trees.
Fast-forward 15 years, when Place Massena was in the midst of tramway-hell, a local reporter doing a story on water treatment spied the bronze statues stored at the Haliotis Water Purification plant near the airport. He did a small nostalgic “where are they now” piece in the Nice-Matin, and suddenly there was a groundswell of support to bring back the magnificent fountain!
With Place Massena already torn up from stem to stern, how much more trouble could it be to get rid of those pitiful palm trees and re-erect the much loved landmark? And so it was: with much fanfare then-Mayor Jacques Peyrat had the Greco-Roman fountain restored as a gift to the Niçoise for all they had put up with during the tramway construction. …But wait, there was one very large missing member! (I’m referring to Apollo.) More grassroots agitation ensued… culminating in finally bringing the big guy back from exile, in all his glory.
Statue of Apollo Lykeios - History
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&mdash NASA's Apollo 13 crew has landed in Houston &mdash permanently and perpetually.
James Lovell, Fred Haise and the late Jack Swigert have been immortalized as a bronze statue now on display at Space Center Houston, the official visitor center for NASA's Johnson Space Center in Texas. The life-size sculpture recreates the moment on April 17, 1970, when the three crewmates stepped out of a helicopter onto the deck of an aircraft carrier, marking their safe recovery after the "Houston, we've had a problem" ill-fated moon mission.
"Through our new Apollo 13 sculpture, we are educating the public how innovation, perseverance and true teamwork can achieve incredible success," William Harris, president and CEO of Space Center Houston said in a statement. "We thank The Grainger Foundation of Lake Forest, Illinois for their generous contribution allowing this historic moment in space exploration to be shared with the world and inspire the next generation of explorers."
Originally planned as the third U.S. mission to land astronauts on the moon, the Apollo 13 flight became one of survival after an oxygen tank explosion tore through the spacecraft's service module. Instead of landing on the moon, the lunar module was used as a lifeboat as the crew struggled with freezing temperatures and limited capabilities to return to Earth.
The sculpture's placement, in the same building that houses one of the last remaining Saturn V moon rockets, serves to honor both the Apollo 13 astronauts and the flight controllers in Mission Control at Johnson Space Center who worked around the clock for more than five days to ensure the crew's rescue.
The statue captures Lovell, Haise and Swigert in their light blue flight suits, white converse sneakers and dark blue U.S.S. Iowa Jima recovery ship ball caps. Each astronaut stands on a step descending from the helicopter, with Lovell in front looking to his right, Swigert a step up looking to his left and holding his cap and Haise waving forward from the top.
The seven-foot-tall (2-meter) statue was created by Colorado-based sculptors and brothers George and Mark Lundeen, working with fellow artist Joey Bainer. The three previously collaborated on "The Eagle has Landed," a statue of Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, which was installed outside of the Apollo/Saturn V Center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing in 2019. (An identical statue was erected outside Appleton International Airport in Wisconsin in 2020.)
The Apollo 13 statue is the Lundeens' second time sculpting Swigert's likeness. They previously created the late astronaut's statue that stands today in National Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. (Swigert was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives representing Colorado in 1982 but died of cancer before being able to take office.) A replica Swigert statue is on display at Denver International Airport.
Documentary filmmaker Steven Barber presented the Apollo 13 statue project to Space Center Houston and advised on its execution. The photo-realistic mural of the U.S. Navy Sea King helicopter that serves as the backdrop to the statue was created by Houston graphic designer Blake Dumesnil.
The Apollo 13 statue can be accessed by the public as part of the Rocket Park stop on Space Center Houston's NASA Tram Tour, included with admission. The sculpture is presented beside the "Apollo 13: Failure is Not an Option" exhibit, presented by JSC Federal Credit Union, which includes artifacts from the mission.
In addition to the new sculpture, Space Center Houston is also currently hosting "Apollo: When We Went to the Moon," a touring exhibit co-produced by the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, which celebrates the legacy of the Apollo-era through the experiences of the engineers and astronauts who lived through it. Open through May 2, the exhibit includes an opportunity to sit in a replica of the lunar rover and a chance to see intricate models of satellites, spacecraft and rockets, including the Russian space station Mir.
The new Apollo 13 statue at Space Center Houston stands in honor of both the astronauts and the the team in Mission Control, who worked to ensure the crew's safe return. (Space Center Houston)
The Apollo 13 statue at Space Center Houston depicts Jim Lovell (at center), Fred Haise (at left) and Jack Swigert at the moment of their recovery after the ill-fated mission. (Space Center Houston)
A photo realistic mural of Helo 66, a Sikorsky Sea King helicopter used to recover the Apollo crews after their splashdowns, serves as the backdrop for the Apollo 13 statue inside the Saturn V Building at Space Center Houston. (Space Center Houston)
Apollo 13 astronauts Jim Lovell (at center), Fred Haise (at left) and Jack Swigert on the deck of the USS Iowa Jima aircraft carrier after splashing down from the ill-fated moon mission and being recovered by helicopter on April 17, 1970. (NASA)
Sculpted by artists George and Mark Lundeen, together with Joey Bainer, the new Apollo 13 statue at Space Center Houston depicts crew members James Lovell (at center), Fred Haise (at left) and Jack Swigert soon after their triumphant return to Earth. (Space Center Houston)
Statue of Apollo Lykeios - History
Today, politicians think very carefully about how they will be photographed. Think about all the campaign commercials and print ads we are bombarded with every election season. These images tell us a lot about the candidate, including what they stand for and what agendas they are promoting. Similarly, Roman art was closely intertwined with politics and propaganda. This is especially true with portraits of Augustus, the first emperor of the Roman Empire Augustus invoked the power of imagery to communicate his ideology.
Figure 1. Augustus of Primaporta, first century CE.
One of Augustus’ most famous portraits is the so-called Augustus of Primaporta of 20 BCE the sculpture gets its name from the town in Italy where it was found. At first glance this statue might appear to simply resemble a portrait of Augustus as an orator and general, but this sculpture also communicates a good deal about the emperor’s power and ideology. In fact, in this portrait Augustus shows himself as a great military victor and a staunch supporter of Roman religion. The statue also foretells the 200 year period of peace that Augustus initiated, called the Pax Romana.
In this marble freestanding sculpture, Augustus stands in a contrapposto pose with all of his weight on his right leg. The emperor wears military regalia and his right arm is outstretched, demonstrating that the emperor is addressing his troops. We immediately sense the emperor’s power as the leader of the army and a military conqueror.
Figure 2. Polykleitos’ Doryphoros, fifth century BCE
Delving further into the composition of the Primaporta statue, a distinct resemblance to Polykleitos’ Doryphoros (figure 2), a Classical Greek sculpture of the fifth century BCE, is apparent. Both have a similar contrapposto stance and both are idealized. That is to say that both Augustus and the Spear-Bearer are portrayed as youthful and flawless individuals: they are perfect. The Romans often modeled their art on Greek predecessors. This is significant because Augustus is essentially depicting himself with the perfect body of a Greek athlete: he is youthful and virile, despite the fact that he was middle-aged at the time of the sculpture’s commissioning. Furthermore, by modeling the Primaporta statue on such an iconic Greek sculpture created during the height of Athens’ influence and power, Augustus connects himself to the Golden Age of that previous civilization.
So far the message of the Augustus of Primaporta is clear: he is an excellent orator and military victor with the youthful and perfect body of a Greek athlete. Is that all there is to this sculpture? Definitely not! The sculpture contains even more symbolism. First, at Augustus’ right leg is cupid figure riding a dolphin. The dolphin became a symbol of Augustus’ great naval victory over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BCE, a conquest that made Augustus the sole ruler of the Empire. The cupid astride the dolphin sends another message too: that Augustus is descended from the gods. Cupid is the son of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. Julius Caesar, the adoptive father of Augustus, claimed to be descended from Venus and therefore Augustus also shared this connection to the gods.
Figure 3. Detail of the breastplate (Augustus of Primaporta)
Finally, Augustus is wearing a cuirass, or breastplate, that is covered with figures that communicate additional propagandistic messages. Scholars debate over the identification over each of these figures, but the basic meaning is clear: Augustus has the gods on his side, he is an international military victor, and he is the bringer of the Pax Romana, a peace that encompasses all the lands of the Roman Empire.
In the central zone of the cuirass are two figures, a Roman and a Parthian. On the left, the enemy Parthian returns military standards. This is a direct reference to an international diplomatic victory of Augustus in 20 BCE, when these standards were finally returned to Rome after a previous battle. Surrounding this central zone are gods and personifications. At the top are Sol and Caelus, the sun and sky gods respectively. On the sides of the breastplate are female personifications of countries conquered by Augustus. These gods and personifications refer to the Pax Romana. The message is that the sun is going to shine on all regions of the Roman Empire, bringing peace and prosperity to all citizens. And of course, Augustus is the one who is responsible for this abundance throughout the Empire.
Beneath the female personifications are Apollo and Diana, two major deities in the Roman pantheon clearly Augustus is favored by these important deities and their appearance here demonstrates that the emperor supports traditional Roman religion. At the very bottom of the cuirass is Tellus, the earth goddess, who cradles two babies and holds a cornucopia. Tellus is an additional allusion to the Pax Romana as she is a symbol of fertility with her healthy babies and overflowing horn of plenty.
The Augustus of Primaporta is one of the ways that the ancients used art for propagandistic purposes. Overall, this statue is not simply a portrait of the emperor, it expresses Augustus’ connection to the past, his role as a military victor, his connection to the gods, and his role as the bringer of the Roman Peace.