Tonight and this week I am finishing the climatic chapter of my book. It is in the last section and chose to write about Peter Schipperheyn‘s Thus Spoke Zarathustra [just Zarathustra to me.] Zarathustra is known from oral tradition, much like Homer, and he probably lived before Homer. No exact dates, guesses are anywhere from 1500 BC – 600 BC. He was the first to coin “Free Will” and his philosophy/credo was that good, that each person, makes choices to think well, say good things, and to do good works. He had/has tremendous influence on western religion, philosophy, and culture.
Peter Schipperheyn’s subject/theme is the moment when one chooses to act. It is a eureka moment. The twice life-size man slaps the back of his right hand against the palm of his left, a gesture of exclamation. His right heel is lifted off the ground, a stunning feat (:)) of figurative engineering especially in a monumental sculpture. He is nude signifying a purity of truth, nothing to hide behind, just the essence of character. The body is in its prime, perhaps a 30-year-old, signifying health, vitality, efficacy, and strength, which also manifests in the spirit/character of the piece. A visual artist communicates the spirit/character/concept through physical properties, they can’t tell you, like an author, what the character is thinking, they show it do you by the process proportions, anatomical knowledge, weight, movement, and etc. Hence the importance of using beauty for the good, and ugliness for bad, ie. it is inescapable that visual art communicates that way.
The whole piece from concept, subject, and to execution is integrating heart, mind, and passion on a faultless, effortlessly-looking scale.
The writings of Zarathustra are worthy of brushing up on, he was not kind to con artists, especially corrupt politicians and leaders. Calling them out for being lying pieces of shit that endanger innocent humans. He also called out useful idiots that do the bad people’s bidding. Amazing how good and evil transcends time, and the issue is as relevant today as in ages ago. Much like figurative art as well.
Schipperheyn’s Zarathustra, gets us to pause and ask, do we feel that passion, the honesty, and the justice of our thoughts, expression, and acts? I recommend it.
Michael Newberry, Idyllwild, 11/30/2020