Saturday, 31 July 2010

Jack of All-Trades...

This marble head of a veiled woman was carved by Raffaello Monti. I've have been looking for an image of a marble carving of a prone figure treated in the same way, which is absolutely stunning, but cannot find it as yet. Never mind, this is a good enough image of marble pretending to be transparent - achieved by fighting against it's natural translucency.

Even today, in Vicenza, figure-carvers all have their own strengths and weaknesses, or - more correctly - specialities. The workshops have carvers who do nothing but drapery, for instance, whilst others specialise in flesh or the architectural elements.

When you are fighting stone, sometimes it helps to have an army.


  1. I have been admiring the carving Fabio Viale. He has done an interesting exhibit of marble mimicking styrofoam.

    This veiling is amazing. I can't imagine how it is done with marble.

  2. I imagine he was much in demand for funerary head-stones. Technically brilliant, but not a lot of soul. Gimme the guts of a Rodin any day!

  3. I think the 'soul' in this carving is what is captured behind the veil...hard to tell from the photo.

  4. Soul, no soul...I find it exquisite. I can almost feel how cold that marble must be to the touch.

  5. Rodin never touched a hammer and chisel in his life. All his greatest sculptural work was carried out by Antoine Bourdelle, who was pretty bad at concepts of his own.

    The temperature of the marble depends on how cold it is in the room.

  6. Sorry about the last - obvious - comment about temperature, J. That was me being pedantic. I ought to mention that when carving marble, the chisels have to be razor sharp, otherwise it bruises, and the bruise goes into the marble about quarter of an inch.