POTD 2017/259. McCartan's 'Dionysus'
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Saturday, September 16, 2017
By J.W. Remington Photographics
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Of the American sculptors in his generation, Edward Francis McCartan has the closest kinship with the art of eighteenth century France. For this McCartan was a unique figure in American sculpture. Among the men of that period, it is Jean-Antoine Houdon (sculptor of famous busts of American revolutionary figures George Washington, Jean Paul Jones, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin) to whose genius his own had the closest affinity. McCartan was born in Albany on August 16, 1879, to Michael and Anna McCartan. Herbert Adams was his teacher at Pratt Institute. His Paris studies, beginning in 1907, were three years at the École des Beaux-Arts, where Injalbert was his instructor.

There is evidence of an early admiration for Auguste Rodin in the group of a mother and child entitled "The Kiss," ideated at Paris about 1908 and finished ten years after. The emotional force and the vague, soft modeling of the flesh had no counterparts in his later work. He received the Barnett Prize at the National Academy exhibition in 1912 for a fountain.

By 1920 with "Nymph and Satyr," McCartan's mature style crystallized. The forms are purified and the lucid composition polished to a glowing brilliancy of line. The few ornamental passages, the hair, the basket of fruit, and the satyr's wreath are finished with sparkling clarity of detail. The same qualities irradiate the swinging curves of the "Girl with Goat," the "Diana" with a hound straining at the leash , the "Dionysus", the "Girl and Greyhound," and the lyrical symmetry of "Isoult."

"Dionysus," modeled in 1923 in small size, was enlarged specifically for Brookgreen Gardens in 1936. The life-size figure displays McCartan's elegant use of line, giving balance and harmony to the overall composition.

"Dionyus," crowned with ivy, stands nonchalantly, one knee sharply bent, hand on hip. He holds a thyrsus over the head of a panther which curls behind his legs. A piece of drapery is flung over his left wrist and thigh. The classic harmony of the figure is enlivened by the rhythmic surves of the composition, with its finely ordered balance of line.

I hope you enjoy today's J.W. Remington Photographics' Photo of the Day for September 16, 2017!

1/50 sec, at f/11 ISO 100
Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens at 200mm

© 2017 J.W. Remington Photographics. All rights reserved.

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