Author Topic: Dolls, wax figures, busts etc of NAOTMAA  (Read 105918 times)

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Offline jackie3

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Dolls, wax figures, busts etc of NAOTMAA
« on: July 05, 2004, 10:18:47 AM »
I came across this sculpture by sculptor Frederic Hart and it is supposedly based on OTMA and the original is owned by Prince Charles (their cousin).

Here are various views of the piece:
http://www.visionsfineart.com/hart/daughtodes.html
http://www.larrysmithfineart.com/frederick_hart_daughtersofodessa.htm
http://www.jeanstephengalleries.com/hart-daughters-bronze.html

and an article where the inspiration of the piece is mentioned:http://www.nashvillescene.com/cgi-bin/printer.cgi?story=Back_Issues:2004:April_1-7_2004:Arts:Art
and the quote from it:
A large portion of gallery space is devoted to another of Hart's major works: "The Daughters of Odessa," depicting the four daughters of Russian Czar Nicholas II, who were murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918. This sculpture, which recalls the artistic styles of Botticelli, Raphael and Rodin, is part of a series of elegant and poignant allegorical works depicting the supposed loss of innocence in the 20th century. The original sculpture stands in the grounds of Highgrove, England, the home of Prince Charles. On show at Belmont are a bronze model of the statue, the original clay maquette and life-size bronze reproductions of the four figures. "Daughters of Odessa" is Hart's last bronze and is perhaps his most beautiful, with four young women joined in a circle representing the fragility of life.

Offline Mike

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Re: Dolls, wax figures, busts etc of NAOTMAA
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2004, 10:51:54 AM »
Any idea why it's called The Daughters of Odessa ?

rskkiya

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Re: Dolls, wax figures, busts etc of NAOTMAA
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2004, 10:59:05 AM »
Jackie

Lovely images...but in all honesty I felt a bit ill (or maybe I ought to say "uncomfortable")  after looking at them ... something about them makes me think "pedophilia"   ???:P
Please don't see my comment as any insult to you...Its just a wierd reaction to the sculptures.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by rskkiya »

Offline Janet_W.

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Re: Dolls, wax figures, busts etc of NAOTMAA
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2004, 02:39:15 PM »
Yes, the sculpture is nicely rendered. Very fluid, very graceful. I'll give the sculptor that.

However, I don't see a resembalance to OTMA, other than the fact that one is shorter than the others. Perhaps if I saw it in person . . .

I agree with previous posts in that the statues are so scantily clad, the overall impression is one of nublity and exploitation rather than "lost innocence" and "the fragility of life" and so forth. It has been said that total nudity is less provacative than a few items of the "right" clothing, artfully arranged, and I think this sculpture underscores that concept. Perhaps the scupltor is trying for a "Three Graces" effect (plus one!), but I do agree that it has a pedophille look to it.

And I too question the name.

In short, my response is a big "Hmmmm!"  :o

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Janet_W. »

Offline anna

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Re: Dolls, wax figures, busts etc of NAOTMAA
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2004, 03:28:34 PM »
"Supposed loss of innocence" in those dresses?
Ha....

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Offline ptitchka

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Re: Dolls, wax figures, busts etc of NAOTMAA
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2004, 03:50:48 PM »
The sculptor would have clothed them modestly and included a similarly modest Alexei if he really wanted to portray the Grand Duchesses as they really were.   He's just hanging his hat on something and running off with an idea in the name of artistic licence.  Odessa was as progressive and bohemian a place in the 'teens as Tsarskoe Selo was insular and domestic, wasn't it?

It was most notorious a place because of the mutiny on the Potemkin.
 

Offline Dasha

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Re: Dolls, wax figures, busts etc of NAOTMAA
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2004, 04:08:38 PM »
I would have to agree with the posts regarding the sculpture.  It has something rather disturbing about it.  I understand the concept of creativity and interpretation, but this is niether, in my opinion.  Sorry for a rather direct and perhaps slightlly tactless comment.

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Offline nerdycool

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Re: Dolls, wax figures, busts etc of NAOTMAA
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2004, 04:58:30 PM »
After looking at the pictures of the sculpture, I would say that my first reaction was interest. I wasn't sickened by how they were portrayed, but rather I saw a connection of OTMA and Greek Goddesses of mythological proportions, and in that, I found the beauty of it. Maybe it's just the artist in me. I followed on of the links listed above to see other works of Frederick Hart, and a page listed dozens of thumbnails of his art work. About in the middle of the pics, I ran into the Daughters of Odessa again, only this time made with clear acrylic resin, and the four girls were separated, and given titles of "Faith", "Innocence", "Hope", and "Beauty." And then there's a pic of the four "Songs of Grace" together in the circle. It seems to me that these four singles a little different than the single statue of the four together. But I think it's still OTMA. Faith would be Olga, Innocence would be Anastasia, Hope would be Maria, and Beauty would be Tatiana IMO. Or maybe perhaps "Daughters of Odessa" is a theme he has for women in history, and OTMA is just one of the sculptures in the series.  Anyway, here's the link to it:
http://www.jeanstephengalleries.com/hartprice.html

Offline Merrique

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Re: Dolls, wax figures, busts etc of NAOTMAA
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2004, 07:25:33 PM »
Those links are absolutely amazing! ::)
But I would have to agree with Nerdycool.I didn't see them as something sick or perverted.I saw the beauty in them and they also reminded me of greek goddesses.
Granted OTMA wouldn't have dressed like that but those sculptures are an artists imagination capturing OTMA's beauty.I don't think these sculptures were meant to seem perverted.I think they were dipicting OTMA as very beautiful young women,and he just wanted to let this shine through.At least thats my opinion. :)

Frederic Hart to me is a very gifted artist and I can see the beauty in his work. ::)
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rskkiya

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Re: Dolls, wax figures, busts etc of NAOTMAA
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2004, 08:18:10 PM »
Nerdycool & Merrique,

Hello!
Perhaps I wasn't very clear in what I posted earlier...
I don't actually feel that these sculptures are pornographic, its simply that I found - in my initial examination of the image- that there was just a touch of 'oddness" in the iconography... I found it just a bit "curious"... and perhaps disturbing.
Then again, many artist are trying to open the eye and disturb middle class sensibilities...Such is the wonderful danger of  all art !
R.


Offline Janet_W.

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Re: Dolls, wax figures, busts etc of NAOTMAA
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2004, 08:29:05 PM »
Yes, I can appreciate the symbolism. But as Pravoslavnaya pointed out, Odessa was hardly a bastion of Royal support, so I would imagine the sculptor was using irony in naming his creation.

The statue also recalls the concept in the Anastasia cartoon, of rather generic young women flitting about. Again, we're up against artistic symbolism rather than accurate portrayal.

Speaking for myself--and here comes the predictable caveat, but I truly don't consider myself a prude!  ::) -- I would have preferred the statues to be clad in filmy but concealing dresses, perhaps something similar to what the young actresses wore during the Livadia scene in Nicholas and Alexandra.  Keeping in mind that OTMA did not live out their lives as most people are priviledged to do so, and that they were considered by some to have been abused by Rasputin, and that during their imprisonment they were subject to some very unsavory scrutiney, I don't like the idea of them--or their images--being sexualized in the name of art. We're aware that they were pretty and desirable . . . a sculpture could indicate that, without dressing them (if they are indeed "dressed"!) like no-talent pop stars.

Hmm . . . I'm definitely on my soap box here, so my apologies if I offend anyone!

Still, I have to add that I would prefer the work, if it is to represent OTMA, not be so generic and so revealing of their bodies. Think of Tatiana's grace, Olga's introspection, Marie's wistful romaticism and Anastasia's comic attitudes. Again, speaking for myself, I would prefer statuary that would embody (hmm . . . no particular pun intended!) those qualities, rather than cavorting semi-nudity.  

Offline Luke

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Re: Dolls, wax figures, busts etc of NAOTMAA
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2004, 10:01:01 PM »
I am a big fan of Frederic Hart.  At the time of his death, I saw a retrospective on his work and a lengthy interview he gave.  His explanation of the Daughters of Odessa was as follows:  He was originally going to make the sculpture the four daughters of Nicholas II as a symbol of the death of innocence which began the 20th century and escalated thereafter.  As the work progressed, and as he became more schooled in Russian/Soviet history, he changed the focus and the name to Daughters of Odessa to represent not only the four grand duchesses, but also all innocents who fell under the Bolsheviks.  These initial murders culminated into the mass starvation of the Ukrainians under Stalin's thumb -- of which Odessa is the capital.  Therefore these four are strictly not the grand duchesses, but daughters of Russia in a general sense.    

Offline nerdycool

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Re: Dolls, wax figures, busts etc of NAOTMAA
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2004, 10:26:42 PM »
I do understand where everyone comes from, since OTMA represents to me, wholesome innocence and goodness, and I'm sure that's how everyone else feels too. If someone were to mention to me (before I saw this statue) that there was a statue of them, I would imagine them fully clothed and not so sexual. But I also know that the world of art is here to broaden people's imaginations, and in some cases, to set the world upside-down. This sculpture, to me anyway, does both. I see the Daughters of Odessa standing on top of pink and orange clouds looking towards a dark stormy wind. Olga, Tatiana, and Maria seem to be shielding Anastasia from what's in front and to the sides of them. They are not in a perfect circle with one facing north, one south, one east, and one west. OTM are pretty much facing in one direction and A is turned a little, as if she's just starting to see the danger. Whatever happens to them, they will be together. After the storm for them, is eternal peace with the likes of Zeus, Hera, Eros, and Aphrodite on top of Mount Olympus drinking nectar.
Anyway, I was thinking about it... maybe Odessa is the closest place the artist could come to that would be a form of "goddess". Maybe that's a stretch... oh well.

Edited to say that I was writing my reply when Luke sent his reply. His makes a great deal of sense to me. And so I nod my head to that.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by nerdycool »

Offline Janet_W.

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Re: Dolls, wax figures, busts etc of NAOTMAA
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2004, 11:15:19 PM »
My objection has to do not with nudity in art per se--I think people who go around putting fig leaves on statues, photos, etc., are idiots!--but with being true to the subject. These four girls were, to a large extent brought up in the tradition named after their maternal great-grandmother. So, depicting them as fanciful nymphs dancing about in diaphanous dishabille is, to me, to ignore the fact that they were four flesh-and-blood individuals--not abstracts--with strengths, weaknesses, desires and dislikes, who also were tremendously sheltered for most of their lives and had to deal with numerous shocks to their systems during the final 18 months of their existence.

I don't know what N & A's thoughts were on this particular area of art, but I do know that Victoria and Albert used to privately give each other art featuring prominent nudity! Still, I don't think either one of them would have appreciated any or all of their five daughters, once they had become adolescents, being represented in such fashion. And I have the feeling N & A would feel the same way.

Now, if the statue is to be considered from an abstract standpoint, Hart's "Odessa" works far better for me, although I still think the theme of innocence is rather disingenuous, considering his use of semi-draped in-your-face adolescent anatomy!  ;)  And, I appreciate Luke's explanation of the title; it makes sense. But wouldn't a more inclusive representaton of the population that fell victim to the Bolsheviks have been more appropriate--if not as interesting? My God, how about the nuns who were thrown into sea at Yalta, and the divers sent down to investigate later went mad seeing the loosened hair from their corpses, swaying in the water like seaweed? How about the young boys forced into fighting, much as children of both sexes in third world countries are currently forced into taking up arms?



« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Janet_W. »

Offline Luke

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Re: Dolls, wax figures, busts etc of NAOTMAA
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2004, 11:40:02 PM »
I found a transcript of an interview that Frederic Hart gave on this to Ben Wattenberg on a PBS special called Think Tank.  The snippet on the Daughters of Odessa reads as follows:

"MR. WATTENBERG: Tell me about some of the sculptures you have here out at Chesley?

MR. HART: I’ve always dreamed of having my own sculpture garden, just creating one for myself. So that’s actually how I got into that size bronze, I just decided I was going to start to do them, and I just sort of did what I wanted to do, such as The Source, or The Daughters of Odessa, with the idea that we would sell what we could of them to continue making a living, but the main reason to doing them was to do them was to create my own sculpture garden of my own work.

MR. WATTENBERG: What is the allusion in title The Daughters of Odessa?

MR. HART: I’m a big fan of Russian history, and originally that started as a small sketch of the four daughters of Nicholas who were murdered. And then it turned into a larger allegorical work, as a tribute to all of the innocent victims off the 20th Century. It’s meant to speak to all of the things -- I even called it Martyrs of Modernism as a subtitle. What I’m talking about, of course, is the deliberate destruction of things that are lovely, beautiful and filled with life, as personified by all of the brutality of the 20th Century.

And I picked Odessa simply because of all of the horrible things that happened in the 20th Century most of them got a dress rehearsal in the Ukraine somewhere along the way, whether it was the Pogroms or the suppression of the rebellion of 1905, or the actual revolution, the Stalinization, the collectivization of the peasants, the famines, the holocaust, the Nazi invasion, Chernobyl, all of the most dreadful things of the 20th Century were sort of played out in the Ukraine, so by making a tribute to all of the innocent victims of the 20th Century, I thought Odessa was kind of a nice poetic reference.


http://www.pbs.org/thinktank/transcript730.html