Bernini was contracted to create a bust of Maria Barberini Duglioli, niece of Pope Urban VIII, and subcontracted the work to Giuliano Finelli. Finelli chose to focus on the lady’s accessories: the intricate lace collar, the flower in her curly hair, her ropes of pearls. When released, the bust was widely hailed as a tour de force. Finelli raised the standard for female portraits and an inspiration for future busts.
Revered from the soaring Himalayan mountains in the north to the southernmost tip of India, Devi is the force that animates all living things. Her power manifests itself in every aspect of the natural world, including trees, water, and rocks. Devi also vitalizes believers, strengthening their hearts during times of adversity.
This particular sandstone sculpture of Devi was crafted sometime around
975 to 1000 CE. She gazes at the viewer, who is supposed to gaze back. Thus this Devi can bestow a “darshan” — a sacred gaze exchanged with the deity during worship.
Ed Dwight was a test pilot for the US Air Force in the 1950s, while getting a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. In 1961, the Kennedy administration selected Dwight to be the first African-American to train as an astronaut. His selection drew international media coverage. After Kennedy was assassinated, NASA forced Dwight out of the program by assigning him to a German test pilot school that did not exist, making Dwight resign in 1966.
After NASA, Dwight worked as an engineer in real estate and at IBM, before learning how to operate a metal casting foundry in the mid-1970s, and getting a Masters of Fine Arts. His career in sculpture took off from there. He is noted for his pioneering use of negative space, and has created over 100 public sculptures, all involving blacks and civil rights activists. Today he owns and runs a studio in Denver, Colorado.
This bust was entitled “Saïd Abdullah of the Mayac, Kingdom of the Darfur” by the sculptor Charles Henri Joseph Cordier in 1848. It was modeled on an African visitor to Paris.
That same year, slavery was abolished in all French colonies. Yes, in 1848. The sculpture, and its later companion piece “African Venus,” were hailed as expressions of human pride and dignity in the face of grave injustice. They also lent an exotic interest to “the other” which was a hallmark of romanticism.
THE sculpture of ancient Greece from 800 to 300 BCE took early inspiration from Egyptian and Near Eastern monumental art, and over centuries evolved into a uniquely Greek vision of the art form. Greek artists would reach a peak of artistic excellence which captured the human form in a way never before seen and which was much copied. Greek sculptors were particularly concerned with proportion, poise, and the idealised perfection of the human body, and their figures in stone and bronze have become some of the most recognisable pieces of art ever produced by any civilization.
From the 8th century BCE, Archaic Greece saw a rise in the production of small solid figures in clay, ivory, and bronze. No doubt, wood too was a commonly used medium but its susceptibility to erosion has meant few examples have survived. Bronze figures, human heads and, in particular, griffins were used as attachments to bronze vessels such as cauldrons. In style, the human figures resemble those in contemporary Geometric pottery designs, having elongated limbs and a triangular torso. Animal figures were also produced in large numbers, especially the horse, and many have been found across Greece at sanctuary sites such as Olympia and Delphi, indicating their common function as votive offerings.