Thursday, 16 February 2006

'Call to Arms' - Rodin

Designed in 1879 for a competition to commemorate the French dead in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, but not chosen , it was finally erected in 1916 as a memorial to the fallen of Verdun. The idea to post it came to me after just watching Stanly Kubrick's breakthrough film 'Paths of Glory'; "the film is magnificent," say one very good review, paraphrasing a WWI French general, "but it certainly is not war."
Kubrick might have ... produced something of great value--a film of the stature of Breaker Morant or To Kill A Mockingbird.But he didn't. Instead, he spent all his time sending his message, and a fine opportunity was largely wasted. What might have been a tour de force of the human heart became, instead, a rather pointless, contrived tale of petty ambition.
The French army deserved much better than it got. So did the actors. So did the public.
LINKS: What price propaganda? - Robert Barr Smith
Breaker Morant - review by PC


  1. I haven't said it 'till now, but I rather like your spotlight on the works of the masters.

    However, I haven't yet spotted works of Bernini, Matisse or Chagall.

    I hope to see this remedied soon. Especially Bernini :-) I always wanted to walk by Fontana del Tritone and throw some coins in while perhaps running my hands through the water.

  2. Forgot to add Picasso as well. Hell of an ego, but how could you not like a man who allowed his mistress and girlfriend to argue in front of him for amusement.

  3. Thank you Aaron. It's my pleasure to spotlight my pleasures. Glad to see they're enjoyed. :-)

    Bernini? Would a spotlight on the Scala Regia do? I believe I gave a lecture on it once - I must surely have the notes around somewhere. ;^)

    I confess that Matisse, Chagall and Picasso aren't presently among my favourites, but I might find one or two that stir me. After all, I only recently began to appreciate Monet. :-)

  4. Can I put a vote in for Chagall as well? I know, I could do it myself on my own blog, but you've kind of got a thing going here and it works well. I enjoy them, even if they tend to attract fewer comments than your other posts.

    But back to Rodin. My God, what a master! Gotta love a sculptor who kept drawers full of different hands and feet he'd sculpted *just in case* he ever sculpted the bodies to match perfectly. The Rodin museum in Paris is unbelievable. Have you been, PC? Second only to the Musee D'Orsay on my list, which of course also has its fair share of Rodin.

  5. And also drawers full of drawings. Drawers and drawers full of them, almost all of them portraying nude models in motion -- the models who were draped around the studio all day. :-)

    Sadly, BB, neither the Rodin Museum nor Musee D'Orsay were open when I was in Paris. Next time. ;^) However I did spend many hours at the Rpdin room at New York's Met, and with various Rodin pieces at different spots in various places: The Burghers of Calais in Westminster (which you coudl walk through!); Balzac and The Thinker in Melbourne; The Thinker, The Kiss and Eternal Spring in Dulwhich... They do turn up in the strangest places.

    Like architecture, sculpture is best seen 'live.' It's very hard to get a feel for it in just one photo, but sometimes it's all we can do. And like those models of Rodin's, good sculpture needs to be touched; a little difficult in some museums...


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