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John Gibson

Cupid Disguised as a Shepherd Boy at The Walker Art Gallery statue

Cupid Disguised as a Shepherd Boy at The Walker Art Gallery statue

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John Gibson’s “Cupid Disguised as a Shepherd” serves as a good example of artistic reproduction within the sculptor’s studio. This work was his most popular subject, with at least nine versions commissioned in marble by patrons. Gibson first began working on the subject around 1830, and it was his belief that he had created a new interpretation of the god of love, although the figure was inspired by classical and Renaissance sources. The subject merges classicism with the contemporary taste for sentimentality, and also conveys a sense of theatricality as the god wears a costume to hide his identity. The statue was inspired by the pastoral comedy Aminta (1573) by the Italian poet Torquato Tasso. In this poem the god of love appears disguised as a shepherd so that he can use his arrows to play with the hearts of the nymph Silvia and the youth Aminta. In his memoirs, Gibson recorded in Italian the opening passage of the poem: Who wou’d believe, that under an human Form, and under these pastoral Spoils, should be conceal’d a God? and that not one of the Sylvan Deities, or of the vulgar Ranks of Gods, but amongst the Superiour, and the Heavenly Ones the most Powerful: who often causes the bloody Sword to fall from the hand of Mars, and from Neptune, the Shaker of the Earth, the great Trident, and the eternal Thunders from Supreme Jove. In this Disguise, certainly, and in these Cloaths, Venus, my Mother, won’t so easily know me to be her son Cupid.27 Dressed in a shepherd’s hat and cloak, the tips of his wings slightly visible below the mantle, Cupid wears a kind grin but it masks his precocious nature. A drawing (Fig. 3) suggests that early on Gibson wanted the figure to appear in motion, having shot an arrow and now rushing to hide his bow and quiver. By choosing instead to depict him upright and still, Gibson reverted to a study of idealized beauty. Each repetition measures approximately 51 inches, making the god the height of an adolescent. He hides in his left hand behind him his ‘heart- piercing dart’ and his bow, the bottom portion of which rests against his calf.Four of the known repetitions of the statue show his right hand reaching outward, the fingers slightly curved as if to take someone’s hand, inspiring ‘confidence’ yet assuming ‘that air of modesty and timidity to conceal the more his cunning designs’, as Gibson described it. However, in the two earliest repetitions of the statue, he is shown holding a rose in his right hand, which may have been intended to enhance his flirtatious nature. No documentation has yet explained this change in the outstretched hand

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Sculpture reproductions are a popular way of making art more accessible. We use several methods to create reproduction sculptures, each with its unique process.

  • Creation of plastic sculptures:

To create a plastic sculpture reproduction, we use 3D printing technology. The first step is to print a plastic version of the original sculpture using a 3D printer. After 3D printing, we process the plastic sculpture by hand, which includes sanding, smoothing, filling any gaps or imperfections, and covering the sculptures with a special material to ensure durability for outdoor use. Our goal is to create a high-quality replica that faithfully reproduces the original sculpture. Once the plastic sculpture has been sanded and smoothed, we paint it by hand using high-quality paint in plaster, marble, bronze, and other colors to achieve a durable finish.

  • Creating impressions:

Many reproductions are created using environmentally friendly materials such as marble, plaster, and bronze. These materials are used to create high-quality replicas that look and feel like the original sculpture. The process of creating a casting involves making a mold of the original sculpture and then pouring the chosen material into the mold. This process requires a lot of manual work to keep the shape accurate and without air bubbles.

After the material has hardened, we remove the mold and clean and finish the reproduction by hand. This process ensures that each sculpture is a high-quality copy of the original sculpture.

Creating reproductions of sculptures requires great skill and attention to detail. Regardless of whether we use 3D printing technology or traditional casting methods, our goal is always the same: to create a high-quality replica of the original sculpture that accurately reflects the artist's vision. With the use of environmentally friendly materials and an emphasis on manual work, we ensure that our reproductions are of the highest quality.

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  • Production and delivery time

Sculptures up to 18 inches in size take 2 to 3 weeks to produce. We do not have mass production, as each sculpture is handmade by our craftsmen, making each sculpture unique. Sculptures larger than 18 inches require different lead times, depending on the size and complexity of the sculpture and its coating. Our managers will let you know the lead time for custom orders.

Delivery takes on average 2 weeks from the time of shipment. Since we are located in Ukraine, delivery time depends on the recipient country. But usually it is not more than 3 weeks anywhere in the world.

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