This post’s picture is of a statue that I drive by on the way to work, Man on a Horse, by Fernando Botero. It is in Clayton at the intersection of Wydown and Hanley, by the Starbucks. The photo is from Monday. The snow is gone now. I found this critique of the statue on the web:
Botero’s inflated figures can be understood as both a celebration and a criticism. While some see the obese, infantile forms as a parody of the childish, disgusting behavior of the bourgeois, others read his portly figures as an attempt to beautify fatness. The prominent Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa states, “We live in a civilization that has decided that fatness is a sickness, fatness is ugly, something that should be avoided. One of the merits of Fernando Botero, who has never been afraid of going against the current, is to vindicate fatness as beauty.” However, none of these interpretations can be substantiated for the artist regards his work solely as a formal exercise in aesthetics. Thus, the jury is out, and all that can be said for sure about Botero is that his Man on a Horse fits into a long line of equestrian statues from the Marcus Aurelius to the Gattamelata to St. Louis’s very own Apotheosis of Saint Louis.
Botero once said: “I don’t want the people in my paintings to look particularly intelligent. Neither do I want them to look at the viewer – they gaze into empty space. If you look at a person you never really see the person, just the eyes. The first thing I do when I paint a portrait is to say: ‘Close your eyes. I’ll tell you when I’m finished.’ Only then can I perceive the figure, the mass of forms, the volumes.”
Today started on a more mundane note. Anne got a call at six this morning, telling her that the power was out at the school and class was cancelled. She came back to bed, rolled over and went back to sleep. I noticed that the radio alarm was just hissing. There was no NPR. We had power, so I checked the web. A transformer had blown up leaving 60,000 people in the dark. I found the local NPR station on the web and tuned in to it. I took my shower and was getting dressed when the phone rang again. It was for Anne, a different school in the district had power and needed her services, kindergarten. No rest for the weary.