logo
WICHITA STATE UNIVERSITY SCULPTURE TOUR

Ruth and Naomi

.

.

SCULPTURE TOUR

Larger Image

.

Map It

.

Previous

.

Next

.

Home

Ruth and Naomi

Artist - Leonard Baskin
Born - 1922
Died - 2000
Origin - America
Year Built - 1978

About the Artist: Leonard Baskin began his art education early, studying privately with Maurice Glickman between 1937-39. In 1941, he enrolled at Yale University where he studied for the next two years. Baskin then took an eight-year hiatus from his education, resuming in 1951 at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. That same year he had the first solo exhibition of his sculpture at the Accademia. Baskin returned to the states shortly afterwards, taking a teaching position at Smith College in 1953. The year proved exceptional for Baskin as he also received a Guggenheim Fellowship. By the 1960s, he had earned a national reputation as both a sculptor and a printmaker. He left his position at Smith in 1974.

Throughout his career, Baskin repeatedly engaged themes of death and spiritual decay. Ruth and Naomi, 1978, which takes its subject from the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament, depicts Naomi, after the death of her husband Elimelech, and Ruth, after the death of her husband-Naomi's son. Both mother and daughter-in-law prepare to return to Judah after a lengthy residence in Moab, Ruth's native land. The grieving women support each other physically as well as emotionally, their bodies covered in the torn rags of mourning. The solid, simple masses and mask-like faces of Ruth and Naomi show the strong influence of German Expressionist sculptors, particularly Ernest Barlach (1870-1938). Baskin's interest in conveying the darker side of human experience was equally Expressionistic.