I’ve been reading these two books these pat two days, purely for imagery of the poor humans that met a terrible fate under the molten ashen fury of Vesuvius. Unfortunately, there are only a few images in each book of the actual plaster casts of the remains of the humans, and they are very small (which has annoyed me to a great extent), and therefore I have had to search online for inspiration with the contorted figures. I came across a few images of people on their own, mostly covering their faces in a futile attempt to keep the ash from burning their lungs, but it was when I came to the famous image of the ‘Contorted Dog’ that I felt a response.
The dog is perfectly cast int he ash, it’s snout still contorted into it’s last pathetic whimper it unfurled as it was consumed by the ash. It’s a really haunting sculpture, as it is nothing more than an imprint of what came before; the dog is long and gone, but we have this strange, seemingly ethereal (even though it is a corporeal form) of this once living being. Could I utilise this as a way to preserve the form? Actually cast something, instead of crafting it from scratch? It would create a more interesting response after all, and I’ve never cast anything before…
Another of my favourites of the casts, this person chose their last moments to pray. An attempt at hope, they probably did assured that their god would save them. As far as we know, they were not saved, but we do not know what happened to their ‘soul’. What was left behind was a gap in the earth, which we filled with plaster, resulting in a form that is ‘soulless’. It is not human in nature, as it does not hold the ‘soul’ of living being, which is what I may need to think about when crafting my beings. They require a soul, before they can be brought into any semblance of a human.
I also came across this image earlier today whilst researching embraces, and I wanted to include it.
It’s beautiful, despite it’s tragedy. The embrace is such a powerful vessel for the human soul, that it protects and contains our most valuable commodity; our being.