Sunday, February 15, 2015

Tetradrachm: Horse of the Ancient World!

It's time I shared something from the very early stages onward again.   This is 1:9 scale and I started on Saturday so he's pretty premature.

Ever since I stumbled across this one particular Scythian horse sculpture (sorry but I can't find it anymore!) have I been getting this hankering to do a chariot horse or one similar to what you see on the Greek and Roman reliefs and statues that still survive today.  These are different eras and the horses are each a bit different in significant ways (build and use), so I spent more time trying to find a theme that fit what I was picturing.

First I spent a great deal of time studying greek amphoras (click that link to see a really inspiring array of those!)

Then I began stumbling across coins.  Coins of all sorts of eras, with a similar theme.  Similar to that of conquerors mounted on steeds.

I have more to say on the subject but I want to do this in stages with pictures for now!  I will start with where I'm at after a day or so of work (not a full day yet either). ;)  I've gotten a ton of new sculpting media and toys lately and have been tinkering all over the place with old abandoned sculptures (most recently I FB shared a # of the Friesian foal).   This guy I'm more motivated to bring to life this spring (hopefully by summer!).    With a great deal of other things on my plate he is taking a backburner.  That said, I'm also forcing myself to sculpt for at least 1-2hrs a day (the duration of a tv show).. so that I don't get 'bookeeping burnout' where I realize I've gone weeks without sculpting.

Must feed the muse.

So first quickly to see what I was getting jazzed about... here are some wikimedia commons tetradrachms.    

Even better (but I"m unsure of copyrights so I will only link) would be to click here to see the STAGGERING commonality of this theme:  THIS is echoed thousands of different ways over the centuries as seen by a general search for "horse + ancient +coin"

My fella is pretty pretty thin still but I am adding slowly.  I want him more of the racing type.  Robust but long legged and regal.  Not a heavy northern war horse but a light fast horse.  That's enough babble for now (over a sculpture I've hardly started!). ;)  Enjoy;

I start with a typical armature wire frame.  Fwiw, my standard answer on how-to do these is now to google or youtube this because we all tend to really start out the same here.  I am trying out a PVC pipe this time instead of brass plumbing pipes.  You can pop the sculpture on & off easier and spin it around more readily as well.  Nevermind in the end if you create a block mold.  Detaching from the flange is a cinch!  It has not been a cinch for me with the regular threaded metal piping
As you can see I fill out slowly.  I pared off a tiny bit more on the hip bones there since this one.  Also, I used the super hard at room temp Chevant NSP Hard brown here.  It's almost as firm as a wax candle to give you and idea of it's firmness rating.  Very heavily wax based. 

Slowly building up all around I still leave him "lean".  In teaching sculpting the hardest part for me personally is to get folks to tone down in the adding on/build up.  Its sooo easy to get out of proportion in tough ways fast like this.  He still looks goofy lean but making him more "robust" will be easier if I don't fill in my negative spaces so there's more animation.

 Not bad for a start (I'm not complimenting myself, I feel like a lot came together fast here!).  I am dabbling with nick naming this fella Tetrad.  I fear that Tetris , while fun, is (a) very Russian and (b) very very copyrighted. ;)  I'll try to rememeber to share this one more frequently here as it's a lot easier to document the evolution!  :D
__________ADDED LATER 2-15-15 EVENING______________
 Wrapping up the weekend this is where I'm leaving off.  Not sure if "ommph" being added.  I plan other things to happen before he's done so I'll have some time to think on this.  No rush!  He's sat around in my head for long enough! ;)


Vampire Heartache said...

Just a day!?! That's pretty amazing, and he is turning out to be quite a handsome charismatic horse!

Morgen said...

Why thank you! :)

Danyave said...

Just a bit of info if you're interested... The idea behind the ideal Roman horse (that you see in so many freizes etc.) is to have a good, all round animal that was steady enough to be a lady's mount, brave to be a war horse and versatile enough to pull carts and chariots. They survived up until the second world war in a farm in England, when it was bombed. The original cobs had oriental, Welsh and other influences. There has been an attempt recently to re-establish the breed/type, but I'm not sure how that is doing....

Morgen said...

That really is very fascinating Danyave! I was initally looking into the lines of Steppe horses.

Lauren said...

Man, oh man, Morgen... I am so excited about this one!!! I can't wait to see him progress! So many awesome Greek ideas floating through my head... Wow... *dances around excitedly*

Joan B said...

I love the balance and animation of this fellow and look forward to seeing more of him as he develops.

Anonymous said...

As a person who is captivated by Ancient Greece and Rome I am extremely excited about this project. I think that the horses in Ancient Greece would generally be sturdy and small, but ancient sculptures show other types of horse as well. One of them is something between the modern Barb and the Teke. Here is a famous ancient sculpture of Greek origin with a typical body and narrow head of what would then be a prized horse - Jockey of Artemision (circa 150-146 BC)

Horses of Saint Mark might also be of interest as they are arguably Lysippos' work. Some evidence suggest that they are of Roman origin though. Still ancient enough to be of interest as they are dated at 400 BC

Of course there are other sculptured examples, but it is such an interesting subject, I might get carried away! Best of luck! I hope to add a Tetradrachm to my collection one day))

Morgen said...

Anioto - I'm also fascinated with "Jockey of Artemision" bronze. & A fascinating contrast between those two indeed!