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Serendipity shows the way

I was stuck on writing fiction this weekend, so I went to the library to look at some books. I found the architectural and city photographs I was looking for. They sparked the desired ideas and motivation. But I also found something else, and it resolved for me a much trickier plot point that I hadn’t been able to get a handle on.

(via this blog; unable to track down actual photo credit)

Isn’t that a lovely photograph?

But look closely: that’s marble. It’s a closeup of a statue of Pluto abducting Proserpine, carved by Bernini in the early 17th century.

The lighting in the photo makes it look like flesh at first, but the original is entirely white.

(via this blog; unable to track down actual photo credit)

Look at the hands. Look at the way the Proserpine’s soft flesh dents where the god has grabbed it. Think of the skill in the sculptor’s hands as he formed and shaped and polished, of the skill in his brain that let him see the result before ever touching chisel to stone.

That’s what I needed.


  1. Sharon says:


  2. Janiece says:

    That is extremely cool. Being an engineering type, I rarely take the time to learn and see cool artwork. Thanks for doing it for me!

  3. Sarah says:

    Renaissance Italian sculpture is waaay out of my usual range. I saw a photo similar to that first one in a book on Italian palaces in a book on architecture, and was entirely smitten.

  4. Laura says:

    Some years back I had the great fortune to spend my birthday in the British Museum. On the “obliged to see” list were, of course, the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles. It wasn’t until I stood in front of those sculptures that I truly understood why they are always in art history books–they are amazing, even in their current condition.

    And this sculpture…oh wow. Incredible to see what can be wrought in stone! Maybe it clarifies how Pygmalion could fall in love with his own creation. 😉