art hist1 - Katherine Crenshaw ARH 301-Schmiedekamp MLK...

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Katherine Crenshaw ARH 301-Schmiedekamp 10/16/07 MLK Statue in the East Mall The decision to erect a monument in a location as public as the University of Texas campus is a complex one that must satisfy the needs of the diverse audience that will view it on a daily basis. While researching the University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Sculpture Project website, the original intent of erecting a monument or memorial in honor of Dr. King was to be a physical “recognition to Dr. King’s contribution to humanity” and a “painful reminder of Texas’ past with segregation and discrimination” for the African American community. In comparison to Wendy Ross’ Martin Luther King Jr. bronze maquette, I believe that the existing bronze sculpture and reliefs by Jeffrey and Anna Koh-Varilla properly convey the historical importance and impact of Dr. King’s beliefs while remaining loyal to the initial idea. Found in the center of the East Mall, stands the Varilla’s life size bronze statue of Martin Luther King Jr. atop a rectangular platform of reliefs. Each side of the platform commemorates a historical event in Dr. King’s life and during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950’s and 60’s. Since there are multiple perspectives to the piece, it is considered a sculpture in the round. The work emphasizes Dr. King as a powerful figure with the use of naturalism, movement and size .The figure stands around six or seven feet tall; eleven or twelve including the platform giving the sensation of great significance and somewhat inferiority while standing directly in front of the stature because he is so tall. Naturalism and movement are present in the figure. Dr. King is adorned in his somewhat wrinkled minister robes, stepping forward, and his outward hand movements reaching out to the sky. His facial expression is quite neutral, yet has some hint of promise, confidence
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