POST BY PADDY JOHNSON
Adriano Cecioni, Boy with a Rooster, 1868, Bronze
No excuses. I’ve never been to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, so I decided to fix that on an unrelated trip to the city this weekend. The museum’s best known for its collection of Duchamps which are well worth the view, though by the time I got to that section of the museum I’d already exhausted myself. I spent most of my time in the 19th century art wing of the Museum, enjoying amongst other works, a sculpture titled Boy with a Rooster [pictured above]. It’s a bizarre piece almost certainly not worth the amount of time I’ve spent amused by it, but whatever.
I haven’t rooted around much on google for further information (the museum provides no wall text on this work), but there’s a great wikipedia entry on the artist for those who read Italian and an Answers.com entry for us English speakers. Also, a brief image search tells me there’s more than one of these boy-and-rooster-ecstasy pieces floating around. Naturally. At least one other wide-eyed kid can be found too. Cecioni: the artist who refused to let any exaggerated child expression go unrendered.
Leon Frederic, The Source of Life, 1890, Oil on canvas
Meanwhile, Belgian symbolist Leon Frederic provides a new take on the thousands of reclining female nudes in a forest painting cited in John Berger’s Ways of Seeing. In this work Frederic countless naked kids emerge from a “fertile life giving stream”. The piece was inspired by Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony #6 so I’m embedding the Berlin Philharmonic’s performance of the first movement below for your listening pleasure. Somehow listening to this music while looking at the work makes it all the more absurd.