I really don't know how to mind this sculpture came to me. I don't manage to understand that my work joined this book of Gustave Flaubert entitled Salammb˘ ". It is true in spite of very that I had just read this novel a few weeks before undertaking this project.
First I had the idea of a character and a snake, a large snake: The first silhouette of Salammbo was upright and the snake was rolled up goshawks of it, but this duet did not present any complicity. However Flaubert describes Salambo as a little girl looking after health of his snake.
Then I thought of a "setting in scene" of these two characters. I then imagined a kind of covered tower of a terrace. But it was not sufficient, quickly I wanted which this sculpture tells one precise moment of the history to help me to build the frontages.
The passage of the novel of Gustave Flaubert that I chose is that which tells the steal of the Veil of Tanit that Salambo protects: Two men, Mathos the mercenary and Spendius, the former slave, less courageous but more subtle pass by the lines of Carthage to penetrate in the city. It is the night. They pass in front of the deadened guards and of terraces in terraces they will succeed in seizing the crowned veil, protective of the city... It is on this occasion that Mathos and Salammbo will meet for the first time...
How the four frontages are organized:
We discover Spendius, careful. The frontage is austere, a little antiquated even. A plank expresses more than it does not describe, the founders wars of Carthage. Two faces of warriors cap this plank, can be of the forgotten heroes. A bay, flanked of two columns, was condemned. A small round gate, like the glance of a sewer, is half-opened.
The frontage of the bull:
Mathos, more intrepid, already arrived on this cornice. It passed in front of the oculus closes for the night. I gave up the idea to make a soldier asleeped. I find the bars less anecdotic. This frontage is already less rustic than the preceding one. The low-reliefs are more symbolic systems: The snake and the bull clash in front of the sun.
The frontage of the dance:
Here the low-reliefs are more ludic. Musicians and dancers occupy the principal plank. Pigeon overhangs this reason. Low, the two elephants of engagements evoke the battles of Carthage. (Salammbo is the half-sister of Hannibal which will be illustrated later, like his father, Hamilcar, in battles riding elephants...)
The celestial frontage:
This frontage is very symmetrical. Salammb˘, safe from an elephant, is protected by the celestial snake. I engraved stars on the snakes. Salammb˘, a such alive divinity, is adored by the people. She wears on her the veil of Tanit of hieratic manner, (completely different from the character of Salammb˘ represented on the terrace).
On the top of this tower, Salammbo look after the health of its snake. Here an extract of the text of G. Flaubert:
"... She was disturbed by higher concerns: its large snake, the black Python, languished; and the snake was for the carthaginois* an at the same time national and particular fetish It was believed wire of the silt of the ground, since it emerges its depths and need for feet does not have to traverse it; its step pointed out the undulations of the rivers, its temperature the antiques viscous darkness full with fruitfulness, and the sphere which it describes in corrosive the tail the whole of planets..."* people of the city of Carthage.
Salammbo, chapter X
This platform includes, in addition to Salambo and its snake Python, a bed strewn with stars, two palm trees, and two basins of plants.
The frontage of the bull and the frontage of the danse.A species of "rose-window" closes the back of the terrace. Some steps seem to lead to a headland supported by a powerful head of elephant...
width: 22 cm, depth: 25 cm, Height: 40 cm.
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During XIXth century, three sculptors seized the topic of Salammb˘...
This Theodore RiviŔre' sculpture presents Mathos in love insane with Salammbo surprised, almost shocking... Note that Mathos, the mercenary, is out of bronze, and that Salammbo, according to the versions, is out of marble or ivory. The Mathos'leg, is completely in imbalance, out of the base, which reinforces the opposition of the two characters.
This Maurice Ferrary' sculpture, is very illustrated. Salammbo, voluptuous, leans with a column. On the top of this one, (out of bronze) four laid down horses are carved, and a man sitting as a tailor on a crescent of the moon. A snake (out of bronze also) goes down from the column and intertwines Salammbo lovingly...
Jean-Antoine-Marie Idrac centred her subject on Salammbo and her snake. Both are out of marble. Surprising, the head of the snake is not visible in front. That still makes more ambiguous the interrogative glance of Salammbo...
(Augustins'Museum in Toulouse)
Bruce Krebs, sculptor
9 ter street Amelot, 17 000 La Rochelle,
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