Friday, July 1, 2011

Folk Sculpture: The View from Below

Friday is a great day for less serious blogging, so I decided to just have a little fun with my iPhone camera in the gallery. The results actually surprised me.

It's amazing how much difference perspective can make. When viewed from below, these folk sculptures in the Fenimore Art Museum's galleries take on characteristics that are far grander than we typically show. Our little George Washington figure, above, looks like it belongs in a park with scores of pigeons all over it and people lounging at its base.

The cigar store figure seen here may well have been viewed this way in the 1890s. We found an advertisement from the tobacconist who owned it showing the figure displayed on a second story balcony overlooking the street.

I always thought our little mermaid garden sculpture looked like a full sized figurehead on the prow of a ship. If she was several times larger than she is, this is what she would look like from the wharf below.

And lastly, we used to think that this figure of Columbia was first thought to have been a pilot house figure for a Great Lakes steamship. One scholar, however, thought that it might have been made for a courthouse, although others have felt that to be unlikely as the more common courthouse figure was Justice, of course. At any rate, here is what she would have looked like to a passenger, perhaps, standing on the deck of the steamship.

I will only add that an exercise such as this should only be undertaken when the gallery is empty. Even when you are the President. Especially when you are the President.


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