Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sketch for Oak and Acanthus

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13 3/4” X 20” (I know that’s a weird size, but I didn’t want to have to cut the Wedi!)
As I mentioned before, I wanted to avoid the Autumn leaves in October predictability, so I began thinking about leaf designs I have seen in the past that caught my attention. I love leaves, trees, any green and growing thing, so it wasn’t easy to narrow it down. But I finally settled on a design that reminded me of The Green Man.
The Green Man is a symbol of the interconnectedness of Man and Nature. Representations of The Green Man can be found in art of ancient India, medieval Europe, and around the world today. It is an archetypal image, and speaks to us on many levels. He is associated with Pan and Bacchus, Cernunnos and even Robin Hood to name just a few. One of the earliest appearances of The Green Man in Christian churches was the cathedral at Trier in Germany, rebuilt by Bishop Nicetius in the 6th century. The history of this image is ancient and widespread. If you have any interest in learning more about it, I recommend Green Man, The Archetype of our Oneness with the Earth by William Anderson.
In the carvings of Gothic cathedrals, a face is often interwoven with leaves of oak, ivy or acanthus, or some the the facial features will actually be represented by the leaves. The oak and acanthus leaves from these designs are the inspiration for this piece.
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A replica of a carving on St. Swithin’s building, Magdalen College, Oxford University.



An example of a more modern design.
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A great website with many pictures of historical green men: http://www.vosper4coins.co.uk/Stone/GreenMan_files/GreenMan.htm

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