Sculpture in Great Britain

696 Words3 Pages
London and Cheltenham, England feature impressive displays of art and sculptures, including Auguste Rodin’s “The Kiss” and “The Europe Group” by Patrick McDowell. Rodin was commissioned to craft “The Kiss” in 1880, originally designed for “The Gates of Hell” for the upcoming Musee des Beaux Arts. On the other hand, “The Europe Group” was part of the Albert Memorial pieces situated in Kensington Gardens, commissioned in 1846. Both sculptors utilize marble to create the human figure and exaggerated poses of strength or passion, however, despite some similar ideas and techniques of the pieces within England, each artist selected a unique way to represent their commission.
Standing at around six feet tall and four feet wide, “The Kiss” is a passionate depiction of a moment from Dante's Divine Comedy in which two lovers, Paolo and Francesca, kiss for the first time. The intertwined figures, made by a masterful use of contrapposto, ensure that this piece is aesthetically pleasing from all angles. Rodin designed the piece with skill and care to create a realistic and believable feel. Contrariwise, the stiff, confident poses of the royalty and bull in “The Europe Group” demonstrates a more formal aspect of society. This sculpture rises approximately ten feet in the air with a width of seven feet, yet is also well viewed from every angle with detailing from every vantage point. The over domineering forms of the large sculpture add to the formidable and resilient characters depicted, as well as the nature of British society at it’s best.
Although he was inspired by Dante’s work, Rodin departed in this sculpture, in depicting Francesco as the instigator or initiator of the kiss. She leans towards Paolo, who still seem to be sitting in a pos...

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...asy of forbidden love and the eye can follow the gazes of each figure or the lines of their body, following Francesca’s leg or Paolo’s arms. The sculpture might confront the negative aspects of society, promoting forbidden love rather than the agony or eternal damnation many might believe would follow dangerous acts such as this. Contrariwise, the prominent, heroic nature of the figures in “The Europe Group” suggests layers of hidden flaws covered by the beauty of a justly proud society. The outward facing individuals look in separate directions, as if to move forward or excel, yet they realize it must be achieved in many ways, by sea or military strength, in knowledge and mastery of the arts, through knowledge of history and myths, and in competent ruling. The sweet nature of the faces and shapes of the female characters suggests youthfulness, strength, and beauty.
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