Michelangelo was disinterested in portraying animal life. Search high and low, and you will only be treated to a small selection. An uninspired collection who’s purposes is to support some larger allegorical tail.
Rothschild’s collection of Bronze Panthers, supporting the nude male. Michelangelo’s obsession.
The Sistine Chapel’s Adam & Eve – The Fall; The Serpent is portrayed as a woman, conflating women with temptation.
The Sistine Chapel’s Jonah, With the Prophet Jonah’s thigh being mouthed by a common Mediterranean Dentex fish
San Lorenzo’s The Night; with the Marble Owl standing on guard, shielding prying eyes from Nights thighs.
All in all, not his best work.
Today, we understand the combined interdependence of nature with human kind. Wild life is no longer just a supporting structure. In this way, I really appreciate Saint Francis of Assisi and his kinship with our wild wonderers. For Francis, God’s love of nature was reflected in all of creation.
My favourite story attributed to him is how he tamed the Wild Wolf of Gubbio. A terror of an animal described larger than life and may have inspired Grimms’ Riding Hood tale.
This creature killed and ate any unfortunate creature that wandered alone along its path. Be it pig, lamb, or man. Leaving the towns folk quivering at night. In walks Francis, with disregard to warnings, set off into the mountains in search of the wolf. He had faith in that all that was needed was a little mutual understanding. At first sight, the animal charged, just as Saint Francis held out is arm. In that moment, perhaps startled by Assisi’ calm demeanour, the wolf changed his gate from that of attack to rambunctious play… The two become the best of friends, brothers for life.
Now that’s a story… and this is the motivation behind my next statue that captures this very moment.
Here I have sculpted Saint Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio at the moment. Two brothers caught in the momentum of a wrestlers tackle…. In the process, these two are once again young, as only youth can be blind to life’s cares and struggles.
This Maquette has been crafted in polymer clay, with the next step being to design and pour the plaster mold…. A great cold weather project… More on this next time.