• Stuart Phillips

Rodin, Fairfield, and Words

Updated: Dec 12, 2019

Through a generous gift from the Cantor Foundation, Fairfield University's Walsh Gallery was able to stage an exhibit of Auguste Rodin sculptures entitled "Rodin: Truth, Form, Life." I was one of the writers selected to do a piece for Ekphrasis VIII. An "ekphrastic" writing attempts to describe a work of art through rhetoric.

I was pleased with this piece.

On Mask of the Man with the Broken Nose

by Stuart Phillips

Bibi walked an hour, sweltering in the May sun. He crossed the river from Saint-Marcel, and shed his coat before the Bastille, carefully folding his cravat and putting it in his pocket.

He dandied back up when he reached the Louvre, mopping the sweat with his cravat before he put his coat back on. His hands still brown from the tannery, he thrust them deep into his pockets as he made his way into the Salon de Paris.

He stood in front of the mask, feeling the crowd swell and ebb, murmur and nod. They flowed around him like a breakwater.

They saw a head, but he saw hands. His own hands, craggy and scarred. The hands of Rodin as they worked the clay while Bibi perched on a stool for 5 francs an hour. And the hands of the drunk who knocked his nose off kilter, marking him for life.

The three sets of hands had made this, his legacy. Bibi smiled and touched his nose.

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