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INTRODUCTION


Surface


A modelled surface can convey strong dark or light effects, almost like a painter uses chiaroscuro. Light


Light creeping around the edge of a sculpture can produce amazing outlines. Light shining on the


NOTE!


To find out more about a piece of art, try looking up the artwork on the museum website. Does knowing more about what the artist had in mind help you to appreciate the work?


Fig. 18 (left) The Laocoön and His Sons, plaster casts by Antonio Canova, c. 1816 (copy from the Vatican Museums, Rome), 240cm x 141cm x 83cm, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork. The group features Laocoön, the Trojan priest of Apollo, and his sons. They were punished by the gods for warning the city of Troy against the wooden horse of the Greeks.


The statue was found in pieces, with parts of the serpent’s coils and the three right arms of the figures missing. It was inaccurately restored in the 16th century.


These restorations are faithfully preserved in the Crawford cast, which was made around 1816 by Canova in the Vatican Museum. The Roman original has since been restored correctly.


Fig. 19 (centre) Maman, 1999, by Louise Bourgeois, Tate Modern Gallery, London. The great steel spider is so large that it can only be displayed outside or in a huge industrial-sized building (see Fig. 22.18 in Chapter 22).


It stands on eight slim, sharply pointed legs and has a ribbed spiral body. Standing underneath it, the viewer becomes aware of 17 heavy marble eggs hanging in a meshed sac overhead.


Maman was made for the opening of the Tate Modern in May 2000. It refers to emotional development in relation to motherhood, a central theme in the artist’s work.


Fig. 20 (right) My Bed, 1998, by Tracey Emin, Tate Modern, London. My Bed was made in 1998, when the artist was living in a council flat in Waterloo. It shows her real bed at the time, with every kind of intimate and embarrassing object scattered across the crumpled, stained sheets.


It was made following a traumatic relationship breakdown, but, in her more mature years, Emin sees it as a portrait of a younger woman and reflects on how time affects all of us.


It first displayed at the Tate in 1999, when it was nominated for the Turner Prize. It was considered very shocking and attracted scores of visitors to the museum. It was bought by a private collector but is now on permanent loan to the Tate.


INTRODUCTION xix

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