Many years ago, as a distraction on a wet afternoon, I thought a visit to the local Art Gallery with T. might be a good idea. T. was in a push-chair and I think that it would be safe to say that, at the age of two, he was not particularly interested in the finer aspects of portraiture undertaken by Royal Academicians of the late 18th century. Imagine my surprise then, as we turned a corner in the gallery and I propelled T. into view of a vast oil painting of luxuriantly endowed reclining nude. “Whaaahay!” T. exclaimed loudly with a manic grin, squirming delightedly in his pushchair and waving his tiny grasping hands in the air. The twelve-foot long splayed and voluptuous female torso obviously had a profound effect on him.
T. is now 20 years old and has an even greater opportunity to demonstrate excitement at work by the same artist, although I hope, in my heart of hearts, that he doesn’t (or, if he does, that I won’t be there with him). The art gallery, here in York, has recently mounted an impressive exhibition dedicated to the work of that same local artist, a painter who went on to national acclaim, William Etty.
|Aphrodite At The Waterhole?|
One particularly nice touch, garnering the involvement of visitors of all ages and abilities, is the positioning of this well-lit statue (not by Etty) for them to draw, much along the lines that he and other RA students would have done in years gone by. I’m afraid I don’t recall the name of the work (although one might consider as a suitable appellation “Aphrodite At The Waterhole”, whom Tony Hancock set out to immortalise from a giant block of stone in ‘The Rebel’ - with Irene Handl as his model), but it is an attractive classical representation offering to the onlooker a combination of life drawing and still life opportunities.
|Your Author's Rendition|
In the meanwhile, here’s the statue, plus my own effort at recording it for posterity. A bit presumptuous of me really because, if you think about it, whoever created the statue created it to do precisely that in the first instance.
And even then, it was probably a copy.