Juniper Wood, Pigments, Metal Base
  |   $4,500


Juniper, Owl, Wood
Head of figurine of the Plastiras type, 3200 – 2800 BCE

“In creating ‘Wisdom’ I was drawn to early Cycladic sculpture (circa 2400 BCE) and archaic Greek sculpture (early 5th century BCE) for inspiration. The simple but powerful interconnecting geometric forms of Cycladic sculpture and the “archaic smile” associated with the Greek Kore (female) votive statues are elements I incorporated into shaping my piece.

I have always been intrigued by the “archaic smile”. As with Mona Lisa’s smile, it has an inward knowingness to it that defies description. It expresses a wisdom that is ageless. It is fitting that an owl is perched on top of the head of this sculpture. The model for this owl is a two foot tall owl seated on a stainless steel column at the entrance of the Acropolis Museum in Athens. Owl is the emblem of Athena, goddess of wisdom and learning.

The Owl of Athena. 5th Century B.C.E. Acropolis Museum.

Unlike most of my sculptures, the surfaces of “Wisdom” are smoothed to honor the grain of the wood and enhance the simple elegance of the forms. To give this sculpture an aged patina, a quality of timelessness, I removed most of the paint from its surfaces, allowing the beauty of the grain to merge with spotty remnant of paint. My source for this finish comes from the study of medieval French madonnas carved in wood whose polychromed surfaces have worn thin with time. The arched curves of the eyebrows and lids are inverse to the lines of the mouth, softening it, while reinforcing the curves of the head and chin. Seen in profile, the jawline reverses its curve, ascending to truncate the skull–a variant of the Cycladic motif.”

-Hib Sabin