Friday, November 15, 2019

Sometimes You Just Get Lucky! Mitoraj at Pompeii


Did you, as a young child, ever hear a story that wouldn't let you go?
That made you determined to visit where it happened before you died?
On May 20, 2016 I finally realized one such dream.

I stood in the Forum in Pompeii and looked to the north at Mount Vesuvius,
imagining the horror of the 79 A.D. eruption that destroyed the city.

The volcano literally blew its top off and ejected a column
of hot gases and volcanic debris into the stratosphere.
Ash and pumice rained on Pompeii for over eighteen hours
and accumulated to a depth of 9.2 feet (2.8 meters).
Then hot, dense, rapid flows of gas and volcanic material
buried the city, killing any living things in their paths.  

Mount Vesuvius from Pompeii's Forum
Regio VII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



To walk the streets and explore the buildings of Pompeii was beyond amazing!
But for those of us fortunate enough to visit this storied place
between May 14, 2016 and May 1, 2017 there was an extraordinary event.

For me Pompeii has always been about the violent volcano, 
the unparalleled look into the lives of Pompeii's citizens,
the buildings and public spaces, humble and grand,
the frescoes, statuary, mosaics, and architecture.

I did not anticipate a temporary exhibit of monumental sculptures
by a Polish artist I had never heard of and likely never would have:
an exhibit that had me standing in awe at the sight
of huge, fragmented, and broken heads and bodies.


Hermanos
Brothers (2010)
by Igor Mitoraj
Bronze: 293 cm. X 326 cm. X 295 cm. 
Outside, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





Ikaro Blu or Blue Icarus (2013) and Tindareus (1997)
by Igor Mitoraj 
Forum with Mount Vesuvius in the background, 
Regio VII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





The Back of Eros Alato Con Mano
Winged Eros with Hand (2013 ~ bronze)
by Igor Mitoraj 
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






The Front of Eros Alato Con Mano
Winged Eros with Hand (2013 ~ bronze)
by Igor Mitoraj 
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




Initially Terry and I explored Pompeii in a guided group.
This made it difficult for me to gather information on the Igor Mitoraj sculptures; 
but I kept photographing them because they were hauntingly beautiful.
It wasn't until much later that I was able to find out more
about this Polish artist and his huge sculptures.


Gambe Alato or Winged Legs (left) and Torso di Ikaro (right) 
by Igor Mitoraj 
Looking toward the Teatro Grande from the Triangular Forum 
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





Ikaria (left ~ 1996) and Ikaro Alato (right ~ 2000)
by Igor Mitoraj 
Looking from within the Teatro Grande
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





Teseo Screpolato (2011)
by Igor Mitoraj 
Bronze: 295 cm. X 188 cm. X 180 cm. 
Looking toward the Quadriportico by the Theaters
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




Igor Mitoraj was born in Oederan, Germany on March 26, 1944,
the child of a Polish mother and a French father.
After the end of WW II, he returned to Poland with his mother
and grew up in Grójec, southwest of Warsaw.
He graduated from art school in Bielsko-Biała
and studied painting at the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków.

Mitoraj turned to sculpture and traveled in Mexico, France, and Italy
to increase his artistic knowledge as he worked with bronze terracotta, and marble.


Igor Mitoraj
29 April, 2014


Mitoraj's monumental sculptures tap into the classical Greek and Roman tradition
that emphasizes idealized, perfectly proportioned human bodies and unemotional faces.
His truncated torsos and severed limbs reflect the damage
suffered by many of those ancient sculptures throughout time.

Mitoraj wanted his sculptures to reveal human nature and human imperfection.
He said of his art:  “The idea of beauty is ambiguous, a double-edged sword
that can easily hurt you, causing pain and torture.  
My art is an example of this dichotomy: 
mesmerizing perfection attached to corrupted imperfection.”
artsy


 Ikaro(left),  Ikaria Bretelle(center), and Ikaro Screpolato (right) 
by Igor Mitoraj 
Looking toward the Basilica near the west corner of the Forum 
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Ikaro Screpolato or Ikaro Cracked (1998) 
by Igor Mitoraj
Adjacent to the Basilica near the west corner of the Forum 
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved







The Feet of Ikaro Screpolato (Icarus Cracked) 
by Igor Mitoraj 
Adjacent to the Basilica near the west corner of the Forum 
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved







 Ikaro Screpolato (left),  Ikaria Bretelle (center), and Ikaro (right) 
by Igor Mitoraj

Ikaro Screpolato Bronze: 360 cm. X 120 cm. X 85 cm.
Ikaria Bretelle Bronze: 373 cm. X 153 cm. X 111 cm.
Ikaro Bronze: 360 cm. X 120 cm. X 85 cm. 
  
By the Basilica near the west corner of the Forum 
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





As a writer, I am always fascinated by the creative process,
especially with how inspiration strikes and where ideas come from.

Mitoraj said of his process, "There are no theories, there are no explanations.
The works impose themselves on me - I am their slave."
ansa  

The tragic story of Daedalus and Icarus inspired Mitoraj,
and the exhibit contained a number of magnificent sculptures
based on the two:
Daedalus, the skilled craftsman and artist who created 
the labyrinth for King Minos of Crete,
and his son Icarus who flew too close to the sun with wax wings
and plunged to the earth when they melted.

King Minos had imprisoned father and son in the labyrinth,
and Daedalus and Icarus tried to escape with wings crafted by Daedalus.
Icarus drowned in the Mediterranean while his father watched from above.

Mitoraj built on the legend by imagining a sister Ikaria for Ikaro (Icarus).

The Death of Icarus 
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
Daedalus and Icarus fresco, villa imperiale, Pompeii

To me there was a wonderful synergy in the connection
between ancient Pompeii and Igor Mitoraj's art.

After the exhibit ended, the Mitoraj Foundation and the Contini Art Gallery
gave Italy a gift of Mitoraj's Daedalus, one of his sculptures displayed in Pompeii.
It will remain at the entrance to Pompeii near the Temple of Venus.

Daedalus
by Igor Mitoraj 
At the Entrance to Pompeii near the Temple of Venus
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Daedalus
by Igor Mitoraj 
Overlooking the Sorrento Peninsula from the Temple of Venus
Regio VIII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


   
It was Mitoraj's dream to have his sculptures displayed in Pompeii.
He selected the exact location for each sculpture chosen for the temporary exhibit.
Sadly, he died in Paris on October 6, 2014 and never saw his sculptures
in situ among the excavations of ancient Pompeii.

This extraordinary exhibit was designed and promoted
by the foundation Terzo Pilastro ~ Italia e Mediterraneo,
with the support of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism.
It was organized by Pompeii's Superintendency, the Contini Art Gallery,
and the Atelier Igor Mitoraj Contemporary Art Museum in Pietrasanta.

Centauro or Centaur 
by Igor Mitoraj 
Forum, Regio VII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Pompeiani III (2007) 
by Igor Mitoraj
Bronze and Marble: 176 cm. X 75 cm. X 75.5 cm. 
Terme Stabiane or Stabian Baths
Regio VII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





One of the Few Female Sculptures at the Pompeii Exhibit 
by Igor Mitoraj
Terme Stabiane or Stabian Baths
Regio VII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Grande Toscano (1981)
by Igor Mitoraj
Bronze: 272 cm. X 185 cm. X 80 cm. 
Forum, Regio VII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





The temporary Mitoraj exhibit in Pompeii may be long over,
but I will always remember how exquisite these sculptures were.

To think I knew nothing about it, when I first walked into Pompeii.
Sometimes you just get lucky!


Memorie (2012)
by Igor Mitoraj
Forum, Regio VII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved








Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

A Very Overloaded Me 
after eight hours running around 
Pompei Scavi, Italy 
May 20, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




Note:  I did extensive research for this post.  
I have provided the best information, documentation, and attributions that I could.  
It was difficult because source after source contained similar or verbatim passages,
and for some sources I had to translate text from Italian with Google Translator.  
Any mistakes are mine.


For Map Lovers Like Me:


Location of Italy
Attribution: User:David Liuzzo



Location of Pompeii



Location of Modern and Ancient Pompeii




Ikaro Blu or Blue Icarus (2013)
by Igor Mitoraj 
Bronze: 223 cm. X 650 cm. X 238 cm. 
Forum, Regio VII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved







Tindareus (1997)
by Igor Mitoraj 
Forum with Mount Vesuvius in the background, 
Regio VII, Ancient Pompeii, Italy
May 20, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



40 comments:

  1. Blue Icarus not only flew too close to the sun, but I think he's got blue balls. Double ouch lol What? had to.

    I can sure relate to being a slave to the creativity sometimes, when it wants to come, it wants to come. His creative flow sure can turn out something grand. Those are some big sculptures. The cracks do make one think of imperfections we humans have.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! I knew you would have to, Pat! And you gave me a great laugh this morning as I'm trying to recover from a late night as a creative slave. Not that I didn't work on this post before last night ~ I worked on it a lot! I think all we writers can relate to being a creative slave ~ LOL! I stuck Blue Icarus in near the end so it wouldn't detract from the main text and photos; it was a classic and funny tourist shot. Have a good one!

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  2. A lovely story to read Louise. Pleased you managed to get to the place of your story.

    Enjoy your weekend.

    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy weekend to you, Yvonne! Going to Pompeii has been a major goal of mine since I was five or six! I plan to write future posts on Pompeii itself. I have far more ideas than time ~ LOL! Hugs to you!

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  3. Sad he never got to see the statues in place. I wonder how long it took him to make all of those? Shame they couldn't leave them there - they fit well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Alex! Life certainly can deliver poignant ironies. At least Mitoraj knew his incredible sculptures would be exhibited according to his wishes. Pompeii was a perfect foil for his sculptures, and his sculptures connected the past Pompeii with the present Pompeii Scavi in a way that amplified the humanity and suffering and commonality humankind shares. The ruins and the sculptures affected me deeply and unforgettably. Enjoy your weekend, my friend! Happy and productive writing to you!

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  4. Those are beautiful. What wonderful timing. I only see one woman though - were there more?

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    Replies
    1. I know, Diane! Igor Mitoraj primarily created male sculptures. There were a few other female sculptures in the exhibit, but they were smaller and my post was so long! I think I'll go back to my photos and include one or two more females. Ikaria was a creation of Mitoraj's; although others have created similar creations. Have a great weekend!

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    2. I found one among my photos. There may have been others, but I was unable to see every single sculpture by Mitoraj while I was in Pompeii. You wouldn't believe how big the excavation is, and it is such a warren of streets and passages.

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  5. What a dream, Louise! To see all this up close. That is amazing.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Martha! This is one dream I haven't awoken from. I am thrilled that Italy was gifted with Mitoraj's "Daedalus" sculpture and that it will permanently greet visitors as they enter Pompeii. I can't wait to return! Have the best weekend, my friend! Hugs to you!

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  6. These pics and info are beautiful Louise, you are very talented - in both photography and writing. Continue sharing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Brenda! You made my day! All my best to you!

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  7. Replies
    1. Thanks, Adam! I hope that you and Daisy had a fun weekend together!

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  8. What a great post, Louise! I enjoyed it very much. As super as it must have been to actually go to Pompeii, those magnificent sculptures would definitely enhance the experience! I noticed the overwhelmingly male depictions too, but I suppose that's inevitable, given the myth he was exploring. At least he gave Icarus a sister!

    Have you been following the news about all the terrible flooding in Venice? I know it's a favourite city of yours and remember your posts about your last trip there. It must be distressing for you to see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad that you enjoyed the post, Debra! And yes, I am distressed over what is happening in my beloved Venice. I fear much will be lost in our world as sea levels rise ~ Venice is just the beginning.

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  9. Wow...what beautiful sculptures. The story of Pompeii is so sad to me, I don't know how I'd feel visiting and look up at the volcano. I'm too much of an empath to even think of visiting! I'm so glad you fulfilled a life long dream!!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Rain! I have been fascinated by and have studied volcanoes throughout my life, so seeing Vesuvius from the ruins of Pompeii was exhilarating! What is heartrending is seeing the body casts of Pompeii and the skeletal remains of neighboring Herculaneum. I wouldn't describe myself as empathic, but I certainly have a huge imagination, and the human and animal tragedies of these cities are difficult to absorb. Take care, my friend!

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  10. Thank you so much for sharing all these photos and information with us. The journey you took us on was incredible. My favorite was the Centauro or Centaur by Igor Mitoraj. but they all were just outstanding. When you think of the force of a volcano or any force of Mother Nature and how destructive it can be it's just mind boggling. I've never seen what a volcano can do, but I have seen what a hurricane can do and it looks like a war zone afterwards. Once again thank you for your beautiful photography and outstanding research to go with it.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mildred! What a delight to find your comment this evening! I've had the good fortune to see lava flowing in Hawaii, and that force of nature is unforgettable. I'll take a Colorado blizzard over an East Coast hurricane anytime! Have a good one!

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  11. Nice idea!! Thank you so much for such information. I’ve been waiting patiently for your next blog.
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  12. These sculptures are beautiful and really make you think. Unfortunately, I was reminded of catastrophe, but the city of Pompeii may be a very appropriate place for this artwork.

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    1. Hi, Jax! Thanks for stopping by! I can't think of a better place than Pompeii to display Mitoraj's sculptures. Pompeii = catastrophe always! Mount Vesuvius remains a very dangerous volcano.

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  13. Love your post and the pictures are storytelling as well.

    Teresa

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    1. Thanks, Teresa! I hope that you are having a good week!

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  14. Oh my word, Louise. Thank you so much for this post. The sculptures are so beautiful and powerful, and the setting is absolutely perfect. They seem to belong there. What an extraordinary talent and vision on the part of Mitoraj, and how sad that he never got to see his dream fulfilled. But how lucky for you that it was fulfilled, and that you got to see it!

    I can't begin to imagine what the Pompeiians went through as their city was destroyed.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Sue! It's lovely to see you! I have read quite a few accounts of the eruption, and it's almost impossible to imagine what the Pompeiians experienced. Walking among the ruins of Pompeii was surely one of the most incredible experiences I have had. But it was more than the destruction of the city that had an impact ~ I could really feel how the ordinary people lived there over a long period of time. The city existed for over 700 years, and you can see the Etruscan, Samnite, and Roman sections of the city, as well as the influence of the Greeks. There is so much I want to learn about this unique place, and I must return! I hope all is well with you!

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  15. Just amazing what people can make and what inspires an artist.

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  16. whenever i see such sublime art whether in sculpture or painting i think of those beautiful minds who created it ,what were they they thinking,how were thy thinking it fascinates me always :)
    THANK YOU SOOOOOOOO MUCH for incredibly beautiful sharing dear Louise ,we watch travel guide with RickSteve ,i don't know why he made us peek into such wonderful part of Italy
    wishing you joys and peace in your lovely days ahead my dear friend!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Baili! It is always a joy to see you! Artistic creativity is amazing. I wish I had thought of the word "sublime" when I was writing this post, for Mitoraj's sculptures are truly sublime! I think my next days will be calmer for sure. I have been through two weeks of medical, dental, and eye procedures ~ So much to take care of now ~ LOL. But now my calendar has some open pages. Terry and I have watched Rick Steve sometimes on tv. His shows are always fascinating. I hope that you are enjoying your weekend with your guys!

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  17. What an absolute adventure.
    And to have wanted to go for so long.
    Then to go. Amazing.
    I felt bad for the angle without a head.
    Thought the big foot statue was pretty cool.

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    Replies
    1. It was an adventure, Ivy! I'm hoping to return again soon!

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  18. Those sculptures are incredible! I could spend all day walking through and admiring them. What a treat that you were able to see them in person!

    ReplyDelete
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