online: 20 september 2010
modified: 19, 20 september 15 october 2010

19 september 2010 the cardinal

a sculpture by Giacomo Manzu

... one of the sculptures i like best... yes, of all the ones i've seen... and looked at carefully... this is one i like both for its realism (of mind)* and its formal beauty (the figure is composed of sloping surfaces from the top of his mitre towards his clasped hands)... and its calm presence ... this metal-being is so evocative of all that's good or godly, despite the unbelieving culture of our time...

...looking now at his head and cope (a source perhaps of the essay on simple forms**)...

...i see him moving against the foliage of a large tree... as i walk backwards and sideways i see his presence in apparent stillness as if against a moving background... the peace of the moment... a small perceptual miracle... as if to believe in ourselves as miraculous were quite a normal thing...

...all these... and more such thoughts of belief and religion out of time... remain here in lucky conjunction in this piece... of formal art school beauty integrated with a wider philosophic stasis of 'the whole'... of which we cannot speak... though Manzu can and did... speak through his hands..

...thinking of him now (the cardinal) as i sit in the kitchen... i already feel distant from the other world in which he stands.... all night... with the trees and foxes (and who knows what else)... to await another day... for all of us...

*'realism (of mind)'
on second thoughts i realise that no photograph can include one's thoughts and perceptions... there is a gap between what i see now in the photograph and what i thought when looking at the sculpture...

**'simple forms': an essay in the internet and everyone, pages 300 to 304.

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