Aristide Maillol's "The River"


The image is based on a photo I took of Aristide Maillol's "The River" some years ago. Among other things, I've emphasized how the lines stand out on her form so that she appears to be a drawing. Separated from her pedestal and the water above which she is suspended, she appears to be falling, and the work as originally conceived was supposed to be of a falling woman.

One of my great pleasures in photography is taking photos of sculpture in which I feel I've caught something of the soul of the piece, or an aspect or vantage that may not be always noticed--because sculpture necessarily offers 100s of views. I imagine working on the piece and how the concentration moves from part to part, perspective to perspective, and how, if in natural light, the shadows would have changed on the piece as the sculptor worked on it.

The big surprise for me with this piece was how much, when detail was emphasized, it resembled an engraving/drawing, what resemble hash marks contriving shadow in two-dimensional work.

This sculpture was done in the years 1938-1942. I'm reminded of Picasso's monumental women from the 1920s. Follow the link for a good example in his women running on the beach painting. It's in the treatment of the feet and legs especially.

I took this photo in the MOMA sculpture garden, which means that sculpture wasn't isolated and against black. It was against ivy, on a stone slab over a pond. I isolated it in photoshop.

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