Category Archives: Sculpture

John Rogers, You Moron

In my ‘Sculpture in the US’ class we recently were required to read 40, COUNT EM!, 40 pages about a sculptor named John Rogers.  Here is what I have learned:

John Rogers was an American sculptor who turned away from neoclassical ideals.  He is known for his genre sculptures, scenes of everyday life.  His are the sculptures that would appear in Victorian homes in 19th and 20th century homes because of how inexpensive and likable they were.  A lot of people in the cities bought his art depicting farm life and rural scenes because it connected them to a place they didn’t actually live in.  There were thousands of these sculptures produced and sold.

After finishing the reading our next class was held in the storage section of our University Museum building and were were able to actually see and touch some of the sculptures by John Rogers (suhweet!). In particular, my group was looking at ‘Coming to the Parson’.  Instead of getting into the depth of the subject matter, I would like to touch on a few technical things.

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I don’t particularly like this sculpture, but there are a couple of interesting things about it.  For one- the detail in the table the parson is sitting at is pretty impressive (clawed feet).  For two, even though this sculpture is meant to be viewed from the front, there are interesting details in the back of the parson’s chair and in the books behind the newspaper.  I admire when details are not overlooked in places that may not be viewed as often.

(I do also quite like the animosity between the animals around the feet of the figures.)

What really IRKS me about John Rogers’s sculptures, though, is the color.  The color of his sculptures is meant to look like the clay it was made out of, but it isn’t.  It is a paint that is added after the sculpture has been fired.  Whoever mixed up the color  was definitely waiting until it was the most detestable color possible before applying it and solidifying it for every other sculpture he makes.  It is distracting.. and detracting.  Why not leave it the pretty white color that the cast makes it?  Or why not sell the bronze models?  The muddy brown, not-even-a-color color ruins all of his work for me.  Call me immature, but I can’t enjoy his sculptures (eye-sores).

Any challengers?

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This stole my mind for a while when it came up on the screen in my art history sculpture class two weeks ago.  This beautiful thing is called Ganymede and the Eagle by Bertel Throvaldsen (1817-29).  Looking at sculptures like this one and  Greenough’s Prisoner to Wisdom (1836) in a dark room in a cozy building makes me happy.  Simply happy.  It takes me to a place where I could stay for a long time- my little art history world where things are made of marble and I can look at them forever.  Smooth white marble bodies of perfection, with faces that convey so much feeling.  It is a whole world of symbolism and meanings in myths that one can study forever and never fully learn it all.  My art history world is like a great dessert that I never finish.

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Love Prisoner of Wisdom does that thing that takes me out of my body and into the picture.  Love Prisoner of Wisdom is this cupid figure shackled to an owl that signifies wisdom.  Pure and simple and beautiful.

I could think on these forever.  Smooth.  White.  Marble.

Marble, Marble, Marble

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