Saturday, January 6, 2007

Marquis de Lafayette: OMOM Essay 14


When I looked at the sculptures in Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan in historical order, the difference between this sculpture of Lafayette and those of his contemporaries Washington, Hamilton and Jefferson (Essays 6, 12, 13, 43, 50, 53) was striking. In "About the Sculpture" I point out the details that convey Lafayette's aristocratic elegance.

I noticed the peculiar shape beneath Lafayette's feet only after dozens of visits and several drafts of the essay. Rather than reworking the essay to include it, I use it to challenge the reader to begin drawing his own conclusions about details of the sculpture. I am anxious to have the reader start such observation and inference early on, because I want him to finish Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan confident that he can understand art on his own, without the intervention of an art critic or art historian. Appendix A, "How to Read a Sculpture," is a summary guide to the process.

"About the Subject" focuses on the philosophical differences between the American and French Revolutions, and Lafayette's role in both.

On the Forgotten Delights site I discuss Lafayette's non-invasion of Canada in 1778. The Forgotten Delights calendar has a close-up of Lafayette and his own long description of his feelings for the United States, dating from his visit here in 1824.

1 comment:

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