Sunday, 21 September 2014

Neo-classical Nubian Athlete

Among the classical and neo-classical sculpture acquired by soap manufacturer Lord Leverhulme and now installed in his memorial art gallery in Port Sunlight is a fine black marble figure with dreadlocks entitled 'Nubian Athlete'.  Apart from the fact that it is believed to be of Italian origin and carved in the 17th or 18th centuries, nothing much is known about the statue, but it's one of several Black figures in the Lever Art Gallery.  A bit more about it here
 Liverpool  Museums
As you may imagine, one of my pleasures is seeking and finding such figures wherever they may be, because long ago I was surprised to realise that Black figures did feature in Victorian art = it's obvious now, of course, but then = and now I seldom leave a museum or stately home without discovering some.  

So for the record, at Port Sunlight, the Nubian athlete has two small ceramic companions, a muscular fellow Nubian in William Etty's ridiculous painting of Cleopatra on her barge, and at least one allegorical female symbolising peace and plenty in an antique tapestry.  But maybe there are others?  

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