Beauty Carved from Stone

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This amazing sculpture, found in the Atrium of the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, is very human in scale. She is life size. The artist paid particular attention to achieving ideal proportions and maintaining all resemblance of the human form. Because of the pose of the subject, the sculpture is asymmetrical. The most amazing focal point is achieved by the positioning of the subject’s hips…what an amazing point of interest. The pose of the subject is in complete harmony with the stone from which it is sculpted. In addition, the pose of this sculpture is far from monotonous! The tilt of the head, the arch of the back, the tilt of the hips, and the crossed legs, add variety and interest. Unity is achieved by the entire pose turned toward the right.

The sculpture is contained in a block of limited space. There is no negative space within the sculpture with the exception of a small triangle beneath the right knee. This sculpture forms a rectangle and inside the rectangle there is a triangle. Because of its size and the method of sculpture, even though it is a sculpture in the round, this is a very solid mass of stone. The sculptor has employed diagonal lines in this piece, which creates energy and interest. While the body of the subject is smooth and featureless, beneath the body the artist has incised folds of marble to represent fabric as well as curls of the subject’s hair. Because of the use of white, Carrara marble, this sculpture gives off a luminescent light. Its luminosity is enhanced by the absence of color.

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