Sunday, 24 January 2010


I love sculpture. I like the fact that it's 3-dimensional. That it occupies its own space. That you can reach out and touch it.

For my 21st birthday, my parents asked if I wanted a ring or a watch. Neither inspired me. I wanted simply to see Michelangelo's David (I'd just read The Agony And The Ecstasy by Irving Stone and it had blown me away). So they bought me a ticket and I flew to Firenze to see the perfect piece of marble, crafted into a man. I'll never forget the moment I first laid eyes on him. It was love at first sight.

This early passion may be why my webpage features a woman trying to kiss a statue. To breathe life into him - which is what sculptors do so cleverly. It has always been the perfect fantasy for writers - the statue who comes to life. Much has been written about Pygmalion - a Cypriot sculptor who carved a woman from ivory and fell in love with her. Eventually, with the kind intervention of the goddess Venus, the statue came to life and he married her. Shakespeare also used the statue device in my favourite of his plays: The Winter's Tale.

Last week, in Paris - I was lucky enough to visit the atelier of an amazing sculptor called Jean Garleita. I ate lunch surrounded by some of his stunning works in their various stages of construction. Have a look at the photo, above - and see for yourself how talented he is.
You can read more about Jean and where to find his work by clicking here: SUBLIME SCULPTURE

And maybe you could tell me - what's the most beautiful piece of sculpture you've ever seen?


  1. Stunning photo! Wonderfully organic pieces - a truly talented man.

    I've always loved sculpture for the fact that it not only 'occupies its own space' but reaches out beyond its physical footprint to occupy and change the nature of the space beyond.

    Fascinating tale of you seeing David for the first time. I remember encountering the plaster cast replica for the first time in the V & A - I was blown away by the scale: for some reason I'd thought he would just be life size and not a colossus! Fun write-up here about Queen Victoria's fig leaf for him - displayed as a separate piece of sculpture in itself now:

  2. Michelangelo is my favourite artist, not only because he was Italian but because he's a GENIUS - and the genius creates immortal works by perfect and anonymous pieces of marble.

    It is said that Michelangelo, when he was a young boy, used to look at marble without speaking or doing anything.
    And when he was asked: "What are you doing?" he simply answered "I'm working".
    Four months later that marble would have been The David.

    So, undoubtedly, my favourite sculpture is "La pietà" by Michelangelo, housed in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Rome.
    I have to say that every single place of Vatican City (allowed to tourists) is unforgettable - first of all, Sistine Chapel.

    "La pietà" depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion.
    Mary's face, so pained while she looks at her son's dead body, moved me to tears.
    To me, it's the artist's masterpiece, and its perfection is absolutely stunning.

    Jean Garleita seems very talented and I'm definitely going to read more about him.
    The Agony and The Ecstasy is amazing.


  3. Very talented artist, Sharon. And how funny you posted about sculpture just as I was saying the same thing about paintings!

    Fab 21st pressie from your parents, I must say.

    I'm possibly a pleb because it's not so much form that inspires me - it's light. (Which is why I am an absolute addict of stained glass and certain painters and photographers. Might be something to do with where I live, because the quality of light in Norfolk is like nowhere else. (Big skies!))

    I do, however, really like those Frith bronze hare sculptures. And I'd love one on my desk as a paperweight.

  4. The photo is stunning, what a talent...

    It was amazing to meet Jean and hear about his work. I would have loved to have visited his atelier with you - what a beautiful setting to find yourself in! I remember how he was trying to describe the restrictions that working with marble can impose. It must have been fascinating to see in person the way he has manipulated the different materials and to see his work in progress so close up...

    I'm just reading the press articles on his website now, although I'm not sure my French abilities will do it justice!

  5. Dear Sharon,

    Jean Garleita is an amazing sculptor and how fantastic to be surrounded by such wonderful stuff over lunch! And having checked out his website, it's fantastic to know that he restores as well-- a skill that must be in severe danger of dying out because it all takes so LONG. I'm so impressed by the sort of hands that can take a piece of stone and turn it into something ethereal, like the folds in a dress, a veil, all absolutely wonderful.

    On a finishing note though, Ms Kendrick, you don't write under another name do you? There's a Harlequin Spice Brief called Medusa's Folly that came out recently. It features a rather well endowed gargoyle and the action all takes place on a rooftop in...Paris!

    Lots of love,


  6. Tom, thanks for the fig-leaf link - which made me laugh. O, those Victorian sensibilities!

    Yes, Michela - you're right - La Pieta is so very beautiful. A piece which evokes so many different emotions when you gaze at it, awestruck that such something so intricate could be created from a single block of stone. I loved your story about Michelangelo "working" - it's something I convince myself I'm doing, when staring into space and waiting for the words to come!

    Kate - agree about those Great Big Norfolk Skies - I grew up by Heathrow Airport which, whilst not the most visually stunning place on earth - happens to be very flat (funny, that!) and which also has big skies which made you want to stand and stare at them....

    Claire - I agree - the subject of marble has taken on a whole new fascination. Bon chance avec ton Francais!

    Rachel, no I don't write under another name - but I'm thinking of basing a book in Paris and writing a French hero for a change!