The Easel

1st November 2022

No common or garden sculptor

By late 1700’s, Baroque sculpture, with its wrought emotions and twisted forms, had been eclipsed by the refinement of neoclassicism. This style looked to the simplicity and calm repose of the ancients and in Canova found its undisputed star. His sculptures boasted “movement and purity of form”, their polished surfaces having the look of “living softness”. Since his death in 1822, his renown has waxed and waned; he now receives “less than his due” compared to contemporaries such as Delacroix.

A City in the ocean of time

This essay by US critic Dave Hickey illustrates why his death last year was so widely mourned. “Characterizing [Heizer’s City] as an earthwork seems redundant. It is made of earth and rocks, of course, but it is only an earthwork in the sense that a Raphael is an oil painting. There are echoes of [pyramids and Mayan buildings]. Standing there, we sense a compression of human time. The heyday of Egypt and the Yucatan don’t seem so very long ago at all.”