Gurney Journey: Wind in Stone

One of the joys of the art of sculpture is conveying invisible forces with the medium of solid rock.

With his sculpture “West Wind,” Thomas Ridgeway Gould (American, 1818 – 1881) achieved the impression that thin fabric is stretched over a human form and blown by the wind. 

According to Wikipedia, “His West Wind, originally sculpted in 1870, stirred controversy in 1874 when it was denounced as a copy of Canova’s Hebe (below), with the exception of the drapery, which was modelled by Signor Mazzoli.”

“Animated newspaper correspondence followed this charge, and it was proved groundless. Gould declared that his designs were entirely his own, and that not a statue, bust, or medallion was allowed to leave his studio until finished in all points on which depended their character and expression.”

“West Wind was later shown in the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876, and all told Gould subsequently made seven copies in two sizes.”