February 15, 2013

The Ambivalent Valentine

The sculptress Camille Claudel, also known as the famous mistress of the sculptor Auguste Rodin, made a lovely small bronze of a waltzing couple. Perhaps it was on account of her tempestuous relationship with Rodin, who she finally left, that her depiction of couples seemed somewhat diffident. At first glance, the little bronze sculpture of the dancers seems like it embodies the emotions of a couple in love. But on second glance, the man seems over-arching, the woman simultaneously leaning too far away. I first sketched this on site in the upper right hand corner of an 11" x 14" piece of paper. This left room to include another study in the lower right corner of a male figure - also from a small sculpture. Rather than excise him from the final drawing, I decided to incorporate this figure into the composition - veritably welcoming him by enfolding him into the woman’s flowing skirt. The male figure’s upraised arm and his averted glance give him the appearance of a denial or a wish to eschew the existence of the dancing couple. Perhaps this composition should be called "The Ambivalent Valentine."

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