“[T]he mere knowledge that such a work could be created and still exists in the world makes me feel twice the person I was. I would say something about it if everything one could say about such a work were not a waste of breath. Works of art exist to be seen, not talked about, except, perhaps, in their presence. I am thoroughly ashamed of all the babbling about art in which I used to join. If I can get hold of a good cast of this Medusa, I shall bring it back with me…” — Goethe, Italian Journey
“No classical education is needed to appreciate the personification, nor is it hard to grasp the drama of the figure’s action given its superb position–and this is so despite the absence of arms and head; indeed perhaps its maimed condition has helped make the life it retains seem more miraculous.” — Francis Haskell, Taste and the Antique: The Lure of Classical Sculpture, 1500-1900
“Supreme western works of art, like Oedipus Rex and Hamlet, preserve their indeterminacy through all interpretation. They are morally ungraspable. Even the Venus de Milo gained everything by losing her arms.” — Camille Paglia, Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson
I spent a week in the Skulpturhalle Basel plaster cast museum in late September. I got some great 3D captures and I’ll start publishing them soon, starting with Venus de Milo and Winged Victory. Thanks again to the Skulpturhalle for giving me access to their collection, and to Autodesk and its Reality Capture division for their financial support, without which I would not have been able to undertake this project.
From Umberto Eco’s essay Casablanca, or, The Clichés are Having a Ball:
“Thus Casablanca is not just one film. It is many films, an anthology. Made haphazardly, it probably made itself, if not actually against the will of its authors and actors, then at least beyond their control. And this is the reason it works, in spite of aesthetic theories and theories of film making. For in it there unfolds with almost telluric force the power of Narrative in its natural state, without Art intervening to discipline it.
You can read all the details about my (now failed) Kickstarter, Through A Scanner, Skulpturhalle here, but here’s the short version: my goal is to 3D scan a selection of plaster casts of important, archetypal sculptures at the Skulpturhalle Basel museum. I will then publish the scans and 3D printable files into the public domain, copyright-free, so that anyone, anywhere, can download, alter, adapt, or 3D print them for themselves. It’s a way to broaden access to sculptural masterworks to everyone.