Tuesday 29 October 2013

Analysing the Leutwitz Apollo (3) The Leaning god

Steven Litt, 'A god of myth cloaked in mystery: Museum takes heat over ancient Apollo', Plain Dealer Sunday, September 12, 2004
Pocked with indentations and mottled with red and green oxidation, the sculpture is missing its left arm from the shoulder and its right arm from the mid- bicep. Gone too is the tree on which the lizard once scampered. But the museum's purchase included the sculpture's detached left hand and the lizard. Although it was knocked off plumb at some point, the sculpture still exemplifies the grace of classical Greek art, later emulated by the Romans.
This relates to the suggestion by Bennett that the object has been damaged by Red Army shelling and "incendiary bombs". So has the statue been "knocked off plumb", and when and how? Well, not since attached to the base it is on at the moment. It was soldered to the base by the open rims of the foot  and any violent blow would simply (if not tearing the thin bronze itself) have torn the bronze off the base without distorting the legs to any degree. If the feet had remained intact any substantial movement of the upper part of the statue from its intended position would have led to creases and tears in the legs, probably at the ankles. 

The leaning of the figure as we have it today is determined by the relative position of the feet in the cast. In the essay by "Dionysia Xanthippos" (sic), "Apollo Sauroktonos, or How the Romans Killed the Lizard-Killer", the Ancient Worlds, May 24 , 2006, we learn of other leaning copies of the original Apollo and why it is significant. The problem is, as I have already pointed out, a heavy lean like this leaves no room for Apollo's left arm to rest (however you place it) on a tree attached to the front corner of the small plate on which (we are asked to believe), both were mounted "over 100 years ago". The effect of trying to do that is just comical. It seems to me evidence that there ever was a tree soldered to that plate - so why are there clear solder marks?

Vignette: The leaning god (from an art-history webpage)

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.