Blacksmith


The sculpture of a blacksmith is noteworthy for the artist’s ambition to combine in one image several different semantic interpretations. On the whole, in terms of formal composition, sculptural language and narrative, the blacksmith looks a convincingly real and credible figure, resembling statuettes featuring townsmen and peasants produced in the 19th century to adorn private houses. His big head on the hefty neck and thick-set disproportionately-built figure standing with most of its weight on one foot bring to mind the lame god of fire Hephaestus, who differed from the other deities both in his physical strength and his impairment. Nevertheless the definite paunch under his bench apron, the ordinary-looking little hammer in his hand, the black trousers of modern cut and, finally, the emphasised white sneakers on his feet divest the image of any mythological connotations. The moulding conveying the flabbiness of the man’s flesh, in contrast to solidity of his frame, introduces an element of mild humour. The realistic colours of his body, work clothes and shoes indicate not so much the artist’s tendency to naturalism as enrich the image with amusing details. Thus, the undoubtedly appealing sculpture of the black-haired bearded figure is based on an ironic interplay between different connotations of the polysemic image.

 

Brief annotations to the image

BLACKSMITH is a workman, an artisan who creates objects from iron or steel; blacksmithing is one of the oldest occupations. In mythology, blacksmith is a symbol of fire and creation originating from the old Greek deity Hephaestus (Vulcan in Roman mythology).