Bronze Ages | Visual Art | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
Pin It
Favorite

Bronze Ages 

Abastenia St. Leger Eberle’s _Girl Skating_, from “Cast Images: American Bronze Sculpture from the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” at the New York State Museum.
  • Abastenia St. Leger Eberle’s _Girl Skating_, from “Cast Images: American Bronze Sculpture from the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” at the New York State Museum.

Bronze is not a material much found in contemporary art. A favorite of the ancient Chinese, Greeks, and Romans, and a mainstay of the Renaissance, bronze was common in casting sculptures until the early 20th century. But the copper-tin alloy was too permanent, too stable, too heroic to express the modernist angst of an age that suffered two World Wars in less than 50 years. Today, the earnestness of bronze seems almost alien—was there ever really a time when artists could express such nobleness without a trace of irony?
The answer is yes, and not that long ago, as witnessed by “Cast Images,” the current exhibit of American bronze sculpture at the New York State Museum in Albany. The exhibit, the latest installment of the museum’s “Great Art Series,” features artworks from the end of the 19th century until around World War I, many by artists whose names do not resonate with fame. The sculpture above, Girl Skating (1906), is by Abastenia St. Leger Eberle, who came to New York from Iowa, by way of Ohio and Puerto Rico, to study at the Art Students League from 1899 to 1902. From there, she began a series of sculptures of poor children on the Lower East Side. Working “with the eye of a photojournalist and without sentimentality,” to quote an Internet citation, Eberle was an early social realist, as evidenced in this girl in her ragged stockings and dress, who seems caught between ecstasy and abandon as she flies along on only one rollerskate. To modern viewers, though, the realism of the sculpture goes beyond the immigrant slums of old New York, to its uncanny similarity with the famous photograph from the Vietnam War of the naked girl fleeing a napalm attack. The way the two images rhyme is pure coincidence, of course, and yet one can’t help but marvel at how the human condition echoes through time.

“Cast Images: American Bronze Sculpture from the Metropolitan Museum of Art” continues at the New York State Museum through February 24, 2008. (518) 474-5877; www.nysm.nysed.gov.

Speaking of...

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Carrie On

    • May 1, 2016
  • Parting Shot: Lisa Durfee

    Lisa Durfee’s documentation of unnoticed parts of shabby chic Hudson currently being shown at the Hudson Opera House.
    • Feb 1, 2017

Hudson Valley Events

submit event

Reading by Quincy Troupe

Mon., Sept. 25, 2:30 p.m. — Troupe is a American Book Award–winning poet, memoirist, journalist, and Miles Davis...

Meeting of End The New Jim Crow Action Network

Mon., Sept. 25, 6-8 p.m. — ENJAN is a Hudson Valley network dedicated to fighting racist policies of...

View all of today's events

Latest in Visual Art

  • Olana, with The Ancram Opera House, presents an original play in landscape
  • Olana, with The Ancram Opera House, presents an original play in landscape

    Performing Olana: Frederic Church living his art Olana and Ancram Opera House collaborate to produce a theater performance specifically created to take place in the landscape of the historic site. The dramatic work draws inspiration from Frederic Church’s paintings, letters, family life and the celebrated landscape and is presented as an immersive theater experience in which performer and audience journey together into Church's art. FRI 6PM | SAT 2PM, 4PM, 6PM | SUN 2PM, 4PM, 6PM Member: $10, Non-Member: $15, Family (up to 5): $40
    • Sep 21, 2017
  • Fall for Art, Juried Art Show, Sale & Fundraising Reception
  • Fall for Art, Juried Art Show, Sale & Fundraising Reception

    Fall for Art, a juried art show, sale and fundraising reception (hosted by the Jewish Federation of Ulster County) Thursday, September 7th at The Chateau in Kingston, 5:00-9:00 pm, features 29 area artists. Reservations: ($45 p/p) at www.fallforart.org, or 845-338-8131.
    • Sep 7, 2017
  • More »

Related to Visual Art

More by Timothy Cahill

  • Sanam

    The idea for the painting _Sanam_ came to Troy-based artist Jon Gernon, as he puts it, in a “flash” when he saw a family friend wearing a T-shirt she’d made based on the “Coexist” bumper sticker.
    • Nov 30, 2007
  • December's Featured Contributors

    Joseph Dalton, William Doiron, Michael Fallarino, and Nina Shengold contribute to December's issue.
    • Nov 30, 2007
  • Local Luminary: Susan Holland

    As executive director of Historic Albany Foundation, Holland has dedicated herself to the preservation of Albany’s neighborhoods.
    • Nov 30, 2007
  • More »

Hudson Valley Tweets