Gustav VigelandKneeling Man Embracing a Standing Woman (1908)

When it comes to sculpture, there’s a steep drop off in my familiarity compared with cinema, painting or photography. I can differentiate between Michelangelo, Bernini & Rodin but that’s about it.

As someone who reads oodles and oodles of Scandinavian crime fiction, I am familiar with the connection between Vigeland and Oslo’s Frogner Park. I’d never (embarrassingly) bothered to look into his work because I am (shamefully) lazy and laziness in combination with depression facilitates a both comfortable and cloyingly complacent apathy.

I’m not exactly enraptured by his work, but this is just fucking devastating.

With the female bodied figure standing over the supplicant male bodied figure, the discrepancy in respective elevation feels like a subversion of the Pietà motif.

Also, there’s an interesting ambiguity w/r/t whether or not the embrace includes a sexual component. Both figures are nude and the male-bodied figure seems to need out of some profound feeling of loss. Whereas, the female bodied figure might be attempting to push his head further from her genitals, closer to them or merely adopting a posture exactly halfway  between bodily acceptance and rejection.

It’s a completely atypical presentation of gender and I adore it for that and the craft is beyond on point–the detail in her braid, his face and texture.

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