Close of sculpture, Rape of Proserpina."  Proserpina is punching Pluto.

Rape of Proserpina by Gian Bernini at the Borghese Museum.  This was one of the most invigorating things Ive seen.  This sculpture, this work of art, is much more than "art."  Allow me to explain  

One thing I love about travel.  Getting to see other cultures, and most of all.... the art.  And when I think about "Art" and "Travel", I specifically mean,  traveling and getting to see great sculpture.  

I believe it sculpture is ingrained in the conscious of many Americans.  Because,  when thinking about  ANY other culture,  we think about their sculpture.  Its a visual language we are taught beginning in elementary.  Sculpture is not just art.... It is how we view the world, and other cultures.  

Sculpture and Culture

When I mention Alaska, and the native  Inuit and Eskimos, what comes to mind?  

You may think about ice fishing, seals, and igloos...  and   I bet, I bet you ALSO envision beautifully adorned totems, beaming with color, lights, and energy.   Harkening the energy of their ancestors and the adored animals.  Relics worshipped and respected, Sacred sculptures.

When I mention Egypt, I bet you,  and I, have a similar thought....  

A thought about the pyramids.   The great sphinx,   Nefertiti, and King Tut's coffin, aka sarcophagus.  Again, all these are sculptures.   And If I mention Brazil, some people may think soccer.   But not I.   😉  I imagine imagine the Skyscraper sized "Christ the Redeemer(1931)" by Frenchman, Paul Landowski, perched atop the mountain.  

Sculpture, at its core, is where and how we honor our most high priorities.  Its how, and where we pass down the stories and traditions which guide the next generation(s).  And more importantly, it is how we tell other cultures, who we are.  It tells other nations and people whom we really are.  

Sculpture and  Context 

Since childhood, we have things drummed into our brains.    Elementary school books with photos of pyramids, Eiffel Tower, and Big Ben.  These are the things which we remember.   Which are burnt into our subconscious, and how we place cultures into context.     

And the most famous sculptures on the planet?  The most talented group of Sculptors, are arguably the Italians and Greeks...  This is what my American culture has taught me,  since I was in  grade school.  And after seeing some of the greatest Italian/Greek Sculptures in person, I can't disagree.  

  1. "David" by Michaleangelo - accademia gallery florence italy
  2. "Venus de Milo" by Alexandros of Antioch - Louvre, Paris
  3. Pietra by Michelangelo (1499)- St Peters Basilica Vatican City

The above are some of the most renowned  sculptures.  Those which pop into  mind.  And the David was impressive, in its composition and scale.  The Pietra and The Venus were neat, but not leaving a strong lasting impression.  But, there was one sculpture which has blow my mind.  One sculpture which made a lasting impact...

From a sculptor whom I think was equally, or more noteworthy than Michaleangelo, Donatello, and Rodin.  Yet this persons name, is unknown to most.  

“The Rape of Proserpina”

Gian Bernini.   He is the one.  Bernini,  brought emotion, drama, and passion into sculpture.  Not that sculpture before Bernini were emotionless, Bernini communicated better... 

The love.  

Seeing this statue, "Rape of Proserpina" solidified my opinion on the subject of Bernini's supremacy.   This sculpture is unlike anything I have seen in person, including other Gian Bernini's Sculpture.  However this one.... It taps into that something, some pure passion, and life, fear, and all the things which make us human.  A mirror reflecting the beautiful and the ugly.    I hope you get to see this work, in your lifetime.  I hope you get to feel this level of passion as well.    

Context, Sculpture and America

Which brings me to the US.  And when I say us, I mean USA, and our sculptures.  And the context we are providing to the rest of the world.  

I consider my self privileged to have been able to have dated or socialized with  people of other cultures.   Many of which are 1st generation immigrants.   Likewise, Ive also had the privilege to have traveled to several other countries, and absorb other cultures. 

Which begs the question.  

What sort of context are we providing to other cultures?  
What sculptures are we promoting? 
What sculptures need to be removed?

What signals do we need to send, in the future?
What sculptures do we need to erect in the future?

 If you would like to see all my photos from the Borghese Museum, Click this link to visit my museum Photo collections.   Museum Photos HERE

The Rape of Proserpina by Gian Bernini close up Proserpina rearThe Rape of Proserpina by Gian Bernini,  Proserpina punches Pluto

October 14, 2021 — ryan lutz