14 December 2012

Igor Mitoraj

When I was in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, I saw a sculpture.  From what I gather this was supposed to be a statue of the head of St. John the Baptist:

From Santa Maria degli Angeli

When I saw this, I thought it looked very familiar.  I couldn't get out of my head--pun intended--that I had seen this somewhere before, only much bigger.  I thought it was in Chicago at first.  So, I finally went through my old pictures, and found this:

This one is from the market square in Krakow, Poland.  It's probably about 5 or 6 feet high, much bigger than the one in the Basilica.

But they are rather similar, no?

Well, it turns out they are from the same artist, a modern Polish artist named Igor Mitoraj.  Images of pieces of bodies is a common motif for Mr. Mitoraj, as especially is this sideways head.

Despite their similarity, they are meant to be depictions of two different figures.  The top one, as I mentioned, is of St. John the Baptism.  The bottom one usually goes by the title, Eros Bendato, or Eros Bound.  It's curious that the scuplture would cast these so similarly, Eros being the symbol of passionate love, and St. John the Baptist being the great martyr to marital fidelity.