– The Apollo
Of Dogs –
October 4, 2004 – Once
again, all across the country, Great Danes and their owners are gearing
up for the Great Dane Club of America's National Specialty. This year's
National, which is hosted by the GDCA's South Central Division, will
take place October 18 through October 23 in Fort Worth, Texas.
The public is welcome
to attend and admission is free. It's a wonderful
opportunity to see many of the world's top Great Danes competing against
each other in various
categories. Over 600
Great Danes have
registered to compete this year. It should be quite a show.
The theme of this year's National
is "The Apollo of Dogs." Pictured above is a pair of bronze
sculptures by my favorite contemporary sculptor, Louise
These impressive figures will make their debut guarding the entrance
to the main exhibition tent at the Nationals.
Louise has this
say about them:
was the most beautiful of the Greek gods, and it is certainly from
this that the Great Dane takes its epithet.
But Apollo also represents
harmony and civilization, and as the leader of the Muses is the original
patron of fine arts.
learning that the theme of the 2004 Great Dane National Specialties
Apollo of Dogs,
I was inspired to
create a very classical
sculpture of the Great Dane. I immediately envisioned a sphinx-like
pose, a centuries old favorite of sculptors for formal pieces. I was
also influenced by other Egyptian imagery, including cat and jackal
sculptures. The sphinx pose is also well suited to Great Danes, because
it is one they commonly assume in actuality. It is certainly a comfortable
position for my Bella. In my final pieces, the natural ear version
brings to mind the classic Sphinx, with the ears lying at the sides
of the head like the royal headpiece. The cropped version evokes an
image of Anubis, the Egyptian god often represented as a reclining
jackal. Although I sell the pieces individually, my real desire is
to see them together as gatekeepers, where the natural elegance of
uncropped ears can be compared to the formality of the cropped.
interest in a classical work went beyond just form, and included material.
After a recent visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art,
I was struck by the very classical marbles of the 18th and 19th century
European sculptors. Of course, carving in marble requires entirely
different skills than sculpting in clay. Once material is removed
it cannot be replaced. My method of sculpting in a soft clay which
will be molded and cast is much more forgiving. Also, a marble carving
is a one-of-a-kind piece that cannot be sold as an edition.
tried in the past to work with various cast stone materials, primarily
plasters and cements. I’ve never been satisfied, however,
either with the appearance or durability of the results. I have recently
discovered a new material, however, a resin with a high content of
quartz crystals. This material closely resembles some natural marbles
when cast, and is of similar durability even when displayed outdoors.
It even feels like natural stone; I hate the feeling of plastic! This
is a wonderful material for The Apollo of Dogs.
also cast these pieces in bronze. Their smooth surface and classic
form have allowed
me to explore patinas that are not suitable
for the majority of my work. Two bronze pairs with a patina suggesting
natural stone have already been accepted into juried art shows."
As in previous years, Louise
is a corporate sponsor of the GDCA National Specialty. She will be
exhibiting a wide selection of her Great Dane sculptures at her sales
booth near the main ring and several new pieces will be on display.
If you'd like to preview her work, you can visit her web site at www.danesculptor.com.
I have been a big fan of Louise's
work for a long time – and I am not the only one. Her work
is included in scores of private collections all across the United
States. She also has a
stellar exhibition record for her Great Dane bronzes, having
four years. (And the awards keep rolling in!)
I personally own the 17-inch "Shall
We Dance" and
the 34-inch "Bella and the Bug," both of which I just love.
One of the newest sculptures – Senior
Moment – may
have to be my next acquisition. In addition to its beautiful form,
this bronze reminds me of Danes I have loved and lost. Leonardo DaVinci
once wrote, "As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well
used brings happy death." That might be a fitting quote for this work.
I think so, anyway.
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