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Partners

BACCHANALE

Artist

Malvina Hoffman

Description:

On the peaceful marble promenade that lines the grand Southern entrance of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cupid makes his work known. Two nude figures, a male and a female, revel together in a sensual work from Malvina Hoffman. The woman wears a simple diadem around her temples and nothing... Read more

On the peaceful marble promenade that lines the grand Southern entrance of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cupid makes his work known. Two nude figures, a male and a female, revel together in a sensual work from Malvina Hoffman.

The woman wears a simple diadem around her temples and nothing else. She is running, with her left foot just leaving the ground and her right foot in the air. Her left hand reaches across the man's body and grasps his left thigh, while her right hand holds one end of a sheet that flatters behind the two lovers like a parachute. The man is in identical running pose. His left hand holds the other end of the sheet and his right hand is wrapped behind the woman's body, around her waist. Both figures wear broad, lively smiles. The man fixes his bright eyes on his partner's, while she looks up at his hand.

Much of the sexual imagery in the piece is stated: her hand on his thigh, his hand on her waist. But there are much subtler, more covert images as well: the congruent posing of the figures draws them closer together for the viewer. Her hand being where it is while her eyes are fixed on his hand may inform the viewer of her desires. The title also is a reference to sex and orgy. The Bacchanalia was the Roman feast in honor of the god Bacchus, god of wine and revelry. His festival reportedly consisted of rampant sexual frenzy, drunkenness, and general chaos; a night to forget more than a night to remember. This piece may be an image of two lovers engaged in the pleasantries at a Bacchanal festival.

Malvina Hoffman was an American sculptor famous for her life-size bronze, marble, and plaster statues of dancers. The graceful elegance of the figures outside the CMA wonderfully reflect her ability to capture the beauty of movement and the human form.

Dates

Made: 1917

Categories
Landscape Installation
Sculpture
Address:

11150 East Blvd
Cleveland, OH 44106
County

Materials

Bronze

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