At low moments when inspiration or resolve is called for, we all have people or places we go to for a boost to our flagging spirits. I have several sources to which I connect my jump leads, one of them is the glorious 'Centaure Mourant', the Dying Centaur, Bourdelle's great masterpiece. Bourdelle's work is now thoroughly unfashionable, but beyond fashion he holds an important position in the great story. Bourdelle held the most difficult and precarious position for an artist, he was an artist of transition, formed in the old school but driven to create a new discipline, not by noisy declamation but but by a subtle, intellectual slight of hand. Centaurs get a very mixed press but in Greek mythology they lived wild, unpredictable and unruly lives and Bourdelle has taken the Greek path. In this hugely spiritual work he conjures the end of a Centaur, the end of brutality in the face of civilisation, the triumph of reason over bestiality. This work of optimism was created one hundred years ago and here we are betrayed once more in a world that seems to have the Centaurs in the ascendancy, This picture was taken a few years back when I took my grandson to meet the Centaur, I saw wonderment and innocence but more, I trust I saw hope.
AGED AND AWKWARD