Once again it’s time for my annual Art for the Month of June. Each day I’ll post a different piece of artwork accompanied by a short write up. Can you believe this is my third year? This time I’m going to try a simpler approach, focusing on my personal interpretation of each work rather than relaying the easily available back information. Hopefully this will make for a less bumpy, more enjoyable read.
I’ll introduce my selections for 2016 with ‘A Casting From Life’ by French classical painter Édouard Joseph Dantan. Perhaps I’m reading too much into the symbolism, but I feel the title not only refers to the scene on display but also alludes to the creation of art. So much of what artists depict in their work is a product of their own personal experiences, if not also directly lifted from episodes in life, and that is what this work represents to me.
In this piece we observe two tradesmen creating a cast from their subject, a beautiful nude woman modeling a classical pose. The men are so focused on the task at hand that they seem indifferent to the sensuality of the figure standing above them, which for me grants the scene which a special allure. I wouldn’t classify this painting as sassy, but it definitely has a voyeuristic quality.
For the purpose of casting, the mens’ female subject is required to stay in posture, which, symbolically, would probably be interpreted negatively by modern critics, however her body language and dominate framing over the two men grant her a certain power which to me speaks otherwise. As companion piece, check out Jean-Léon Gérôme’s ‘Working in Marble or the Artist Sculpting Tanagra,’ included below.
I also admire the technical qualities of Dantan’s painting. The realistic depiction of the subjects compliments the scene, providing an authenticity one might associate with a photograph. I enjoy all the miscellaneous details found throughout the shop, including the reproductions of several classical statues seen casually propped on various crates and stools. The storage rack in the background is a nice touch as well.