In this post I look at what is probably my personal favourite sculpture from the Tree Garden at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage - the sculpture of ‘King Lear’ by Eve Pomerantz.
I have always admired the ability of sculptors to take a solid, cold material like bronze or stone and within them depict extreme human emotions, such as anguish or despair
As a Classics student at university I particularly loved looking at sculpture from the Hellenistic period and for me this sculpture of ‘King Lear’ resonates with the ‘Laocoön’ sculpture group, which is displayed in the Vatican Museums in Rome. In both sculptures we see the central, tormented parent figure, framed by equally distressed children, whilst coils of serpents wrap themselves ominously around the characters' limbs. In the Classical stories of the Trojan priest, Laocoön and his sons were to be strangled and killed by real sea-serpents sent by the vengeful gods, whereas the snakes in ‘King Lear’ are more symbolic of the downfall of the characters. Another difference in the 'King Lear' sculpture is that the figure representing Goneril and Regan is an additional serpentine or spidery figure that torments the central character. Whether they are familiar with the plot of King Lear or not, a viewer of this sculpture cannot help but feel some of the power of its tragedy.
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