Stories

An Otiose Revisited.

It would be several years ago that a Facebook friend mentioned the word ‘otiose’. Now those of you steeped in the English language will know that this is not only an adjective, but a noun. For there is an animal called an otiose, and it is, as the name suggests, otiose.

This is what the Oxford English Dictionary has to say on the matter:

Otiose – Serving no practical purpose or result.
‘there were occasions when I felt my efforts were rather otiose’

(archaic) Indolent or idle.

And no mention of my beastie!

Continue reading “An Otiose Revisited.”

Art · Creativity

Auguste Rodin: A Female Centaur c1887.

It is true that one can see the beauty of the whole that lies in but a part of the sculpture – that is to employ our imagination in the way a true artist intends.
The side view of Rodin’s female centaur.
Musée Rodin, Paris.

It is true that, like Rodin, one can see the beauty of the whole that lies in but a part of the sculpture – that is to employ our imagination in the way a true artist intends. Like Tom Thomson’s paintings that on first view appear only half finished; but that is their art, they are there for you to finish in your mind. And in finishing it, you add something more than the imagery, you add the birdsong and the scent of wild flowers or the lapping of the waves on the lakeside.

Rodin took this a little further in that he would find himself inspired to sculpt an arm or a leg with a particular gesture – and whilst this is clearly the stuff of genius, it is still in the realms of being a practice piece. Art is an expression of one’s own relationship to nature – be it through colour, sound or form. We do not have relationships with arms or legs, we have relationships with the humans they are part of.

Continue reading “Auguste Rodin: A Female Centaur c1887.”

Art · Modern Times

Auguste Rodin Galatea In A Cup; Circa 1900.

Auguste Rodin, Part 3.

For beauty to be half formed was enough for Rodin.
Rodin’s ‘Galatea In A Cup’ showing human and material beauty. Note that the chalice is complete!
Musée Rodin, Paris.

The myth of Pygmalion which is spoken of in Ovid’s Metamorphosis has Pygmalion searching for beauty incarnate. This search takes the form of his making his image of beauty as a sculpture, the beauty that lies in the female form. The Greeks weren’t partial about beauty, they saw it in everything – but they did see it at its highest in mankind. So Pygmalion set about his sculpture which he found enrapturing.

Continue reading “Auguste Rodin Galatea In A Cup; Circa 1900.”

Art · Mind The Gap!

Auguste Rodin: Le Penseur; The Thinker, 1903.

Indeed, the original name for the work was 'The Poet' but was later changed to the thinker.
Le Penseur, by Auguste Rodin. This plaster cast was made in 1903.
It depicts Dante sitting on a stone and looking down on the lower levels of hell.
Musée Rodin, Paris.

This is, without question, Rodin’s best known work. Originally conceived in the early 1880s as part of his portal ‘The Gates Of Hell’ which depict the horrors that the poet Dante Alighieri described in his ‘Inferno’. Indeed, the original name for the work was ‘The Poet’ but was later changed to the thinker. This sculpture, made in 1903 is made of plaster and is around five feet high. It was an immense undertaking, a challenge that Rodin was equal to. Continue reading “Auguste Rodin: Le Penseur; The Thinker, 1903.”

A Human Menagerie · Art

Auguste Rodin: The Citizens Of Calais.

majestic in appearance, for all the solemnity of the occasion.
Nothing in this man’s stature speaks of doubt.

The tale of the six citizens of Calais dates back to the time when the English king, Edward the Third had besieged the port of Calais during the Hundred Years War between England and France. A war that essentially saw the French wrest control of most of Northern France from the English Crown. At the time, in 1347, the city of Calais was still under the English crown. An English Crown that was of French, that is to say, Norman blood. European politics in the fourteenth century was complicated, and it hasn’t got any better since.

Continue reading “Auguste Rodin: The Citizens Of Calais.”