Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More Luxembourg Sculpture - Final One

Down in the city near the centre is this sculpture which screams for attention. It is called "La Temperance" by French-born sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002). It can be found at the northern end of the Place Emile Hamilius. The sculpture was erected in 1995 when Luxembourg was European Capital of Culture.

It is a representation of Temperance, the tarot card and another version of it exists in the Tarot Garden in Tuscany, Italy which contains many of her Tarot character sculptures. She appears to be holding two joined vessels in her hands. Temperance is almost invariably depicted as a person pouring liquid from one receptacle into another. Historically, this was a standard symbol of the virtue temperance representing the dilution of wine with water.

There is a connection with the gun sculpture at the Jean Monnet building. In 1961, Niki de Saint Phalle became known around the world for her Shooting paintings. These consisted of a wooden base board on which containers of paint were laid, then covered with plaster. The painting was then raised and de Saint Phalle would shoot at it with a rifle. The bullets penetrated paint containers, which spilled their contents over the painting. She travelled around the world performing shooting sessions. She stopped making these shooting pictures in 1963 as in her own words, I had become addicted to shooting, like one becomes addicted to a drug.

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