Sculpture – AEAS精读 (Y10-12)

The sculptural legacy that the new United States inherited from its colonial predecessors was far from a rich one, and in fact, in 1776 sculpture as an art form was still in the hands of artisans and craftspeople. Stone carvers engraved their motifs of skulls and crossbones and other religious icons of death into the gray slabs that we still see standing today in old burial grounds. Some skilled craftspeople made intricately carved wooden ornamentations for furniture or architectural decorations, while others caved wooden shop signs and ships’ figureheads. Although they often achieved expression and formal excellence in their generally primitive style, they remained artisans skilled in the craft of carving and constituted a group distinct from what we normally think of as “sculptors” in today’s use of the word.

On the rare occasion when a fine piece of sculpture was desired, Americans turned to foreign sculptors, as in the 1770’s when the cities of New York and Charleston, South Carolina, commissioned the Englishman Joseph Wilton to make marble statues of William Pitt. Wilton also made a lead equestrian image of King George III that was created in New York in 1770 and torn down by zealous patriots six years later. A few marble memorials with carved busts, urns, or other decorations were produced in England and brought to the colonies to be set in the walls of churches — as in King’s Chapel in Boston. But sculpture as a high art, practiced by artists who knew both the artistic theory of their Renaissance-Baroque-Rococo predecessors and the various technical procedures of modeling, casting, and carving rich three-dimensional forms, was not known among Americans in 1776. Indeed, for many years thereafter, the United States had two groups from which to choose — either the local craftspeople or the imported talent of European sculptors.

The eighteenth century was not one in which powered sculptural conceptions were developed. Add to this the timidity with which unschooled artisans — originally trained as stonemasons, carpenters, or cabinetmakers — attacked the medium from which they sculpture made in the United States in the late eighteenth century.

新美国从殖民时期的前辈那里继承的雕塑遗产远非丰富,事实上,1776年,雕塑作为一种艺术形式仍然掌握在工匠和工匠们手中。石雕师将他们的头骨、十字骨和其他宗教死亡标志的图案刻在灰色的石板上,我们今天仍然可以看到这些石板矗立在古老的墓地里。一些技艺精湛的工匠制作了复杂的木雕装饰品用于家具或建筑装饰,而另一些人则雕刻了木制商店招牌和船只的人偶头像。虽然他们经常以他们通常原始的风格获得表达和形式上的卓越,但他们仍然是熟练掌握雕刻技艺的工匠,构成了一个不同于我们今天使用的“雕刻家”的群体。

当人们需要一件精美的雕塑作品时,美国人会向外国雕塑家寻求帮助,就像在17世纪70年代,纽约和南卡罗来纳州查尔斯顿市委托英国人约瑟夫·威尔顿为威廉·皮特制作大理石雕像一样。1770年,威尔顿在纽约创造了乔治三世的骑马形象,并在六年后被热情的爱国者推倒。一些带有雕花半身像、骨灰盒或其他装饰品的大理石纪念碑是在英国生产的,并被带到殖民地的教堂的墙壁上——就像在波士顿的国王礼拜堂一样。但在1776年,美国人还不知道雕塑作为一门高级艺术,它是由那些既了解文艺复兴时期巴洛克式洛可可风格的前辈们的艺术理论,又了解造型、铸造和雕刻等丰富的三维形式的各种技术程序的艺术家们所实践的。事实上,在那之后的许多年里,美国有两个群体可供选择——要么是当地的工匠,要么是欧洲雕刻家的外来人才。

18世纪并不是大力发展雕塑观念的世纪。此外,未受过教育的工匠——最初是石匠、木匠或细木工——对18世纪晚期他们在美国制作雕塑所用的媒介进行攻击时,也表现出了胆怯。