My husband is selling some plaster copies of his bronze sculptures on eBay. He came home last night dressed in his usual grungy, clay-spattered jeans and ragged tee-shirt with red iron-oxide patina stains. He trudged into the kitchen where I was cooking dinner for our little one, kissed me on the crown of my head, and tread back out. I followed him to see why his hands were so dark. Sitting on our dining room table was PERSISTENCE.
I gaped: this is a powerful, stunning piece of art. His muscles bulge under the compression of gravity, his mighty thews heave with will and determination, his veins strain and pop-out. It’s anatomically plu-perfect, hyper-real in accordance with modern taste, but classically designed and conceived in its male nudeness. It is sensory exaltation. It is an experience of revealed truth.
It’s easy for me to forget, in the dailyness of our life together, that my husband Sabin Howard is a singularly talented artist. Grumbling about his messiness, his clothes left out for me to put away, and his penchant for over-peppering every plate of food he cooks, I lose sight of his extraordinary ability. No one else can sculpt like him. No other working figurative sculptor sculpts at Sabin’s level. No one has sculpted as well as Sabin since, who, Carpeaux? And there is an argument to made that, historical place aside, Sabin is a better sculptor than Carpeaux, who tended to a saccharine quality. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sweetness in Carpeaux’s figures. But for sheer mastery, Sabin’s got him beat. Michelangelo, Bernini, Cellini, Howard: these are the great master sculptors.
Even if I do have to wash out the sink after Sabin shaves.