The Fine Art of Self-Flagellation

I really need to find myself a sculpture class or studio. I love to sculpt and haven’t done much since high school (a couple of pieces here and there). I gave away everything I ever created. Some of it, I’m sure, was not as good as I remember.


My-Mother-The-Dowager-Duchess has two nude figures I made and never fired. I coated them in a fiberglass resin, but I don’t think it was intended to preserve them through the centuries. They’re not awful, but they’re nothing to write home about (so I guess it’s good I don’t need to do so), and they’ve been glued back together too many times to count; the Dowager Duchess will never throw them away. I tried my hand at Sculpy, which is a modeling compound that bakes in a kitchen oven. I made one figure I absolutely loved. He wasn’t really of the proportions recommended for something you’d bake in a home oven. I baked him anyway. He got a little burned around the finger tips and toes but, still, I loved him. And then I gave him to a friend as a birthday gift.

When Adela and I spent an afternoon last week at the Museo de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts), I found myself again drawn (as I was recently in Maria Luisa Park) to the sculpture — in wood, marble, and plaster. My preference is for drawing and sculpting people and, although the subjects at this particular (exceptional) museum are primarily religious figures and I don’t find them spiritually inspiring in that sense, I am still inspired. So, here from the museum collection are some of the saints and virgins we saw last week. Also included is a beautiful, detailed bas relief of the not-at-all-saintly Christopher Columbus with Isabella I and Ferdinand.

Like Santo Domingo (the last sculpture pictured), I think I’ll be flagellating myself if I don’t start creating again soon.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

26 thoughts on “The Fine Art of Self-Flagellation”

  1. Looked at all the artwork… kept going back to John the Baptist's head… or rather his neck and all those "innards things" that are shown in great detail. Makes me wonder how the artist knew about those things. hmmmmmm….

    1. Odd Essay:
      And it's my understanding that the artist would have been seriously condemned for studying the real thing. (Michelangelo had to do so secretly.) I wonder how THEY thought he knew all those details.

  2. Yes! Return to sculpture! Or whatever art you want to practice. I am trying to get myself to do this. I have a studio art degree, and if not now – when? It is a great joy which nothing should keep us from. (Now you've got the Phil Ochs song "When I'm Gone" running through my head.) I realize I'm talking to myself here, as much as to you, but it's just as true either way.

    1. Kristi:
      I've got my sketch book out and I am about to sit down and draw! You do the same! Maybe we can motivate each other (and it's sad that we have to be pressured to do what we love)!

  3. I say, go for it! You obviously are very talented and motivated so why deny yourself the pleasure? Not to mention, all of your adoring fans are waiting to see what you create!

  4. Smock, beret and a thin moustache is all you need. Look at everything through a frame made from fore-finger and thumb of each hand, squint a lot and explain to everyone that you're not assaulting them, you're getting to grips with their texture ready to immortalise them in marble. [Try it – it got my last sentence knocked down to just six months in a low-security unit.]

    1. Owl Wood:
      THAT was my problem today! I didn't dress the part or act slightly crazy (well…).

      That reminds me of the time my art teacher wrote home to our parents because we needed to bring in something to wear as a smock. As she put it, "Please have your child bring in a DIRTY shirt." The Dowager Duchess was appalled and said, "An OLD CLEAN one would do just fine."

    1. Stephen:
      You're right. Our sculptor friend José still creates them. I'm hoping to finally see his current work at Christmas time and will share it. My preference is for the non-"colorized" versions. But the polychrome is in demand for the religious works.

  5. Maybe you could somehow become an apprentice under Jose? I bet you really do miss creating, Mitch. Well, since WINTER is descending upon us (well you know what I mean), no time like the present to stay busy!

    1. Jim:
      I would love to learn from José, but I don't think he's the teacher type. And since he's usually locked inside some monastery or other while he works, I can't get in and watch. I'll just have to find divine inspiration!

      I know what you mean about winter. It was only 17C/63F when we went down to breakfast this morning and I don't know if it ever made it past 25C/81F! Brrrr…

  6. When the time is right your creative side will triumph, and it sounds like the time is right.

    PS: loved Owl Wood's comment and your reply. The DD has standards!

  7. When you start flagellating yourself, just add 'a cat of nine tails' to the flagellation holder, Santo Domingo is doing it without one… or did it broke off?!

  8. For a long while I have used the term 'blood heads" to refer to modern art sculpture. Imagine my emotions at actually encountering one here!

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