Women on Columns

In the fall of 2006, I was able to spend five weeks in Italy, three of them as a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome. My goal while there was to gather as many images as possible of the female body in architecture: from the reproductions of the Erechtheion caryatids at Hadrian’s Villa to the many statues of the Virgin Mary posed atop columns and spires.

 

Aesthetic Distance, first created for the Michener Museum in Doylestown, PA, considers this latter structural form but replaces Mary with sculptures of ordinary women. These figures are naked, out of reach and almost out of sight, with no means of climbing off their pedestals.

 

The Three Graces, whose abode was atop Mount Olympia, were usually depicted as dancing, with arms entwined. In my version of this traditional grouping at the Woodmere Museum in Philadelphia, they become isolated. Each sits crouched or slumped upon her own pedestal/column, perhaps wearied by her eternal responsibilities in assuring human happiness.

All artwork on this site © Virginia Maksymowicz.

Most photography is by Blaise Tobia.

Some works are collaborative.

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