The Philosophy of Marble

The Philosophy of Marble

Let’s start off by looking at this article where a man takes ordinary blocks of marble and turns them into architectural sculptures. What Matthew Simmonds does with marble is pure genius and some of the most beautiful sculptures I have seen in recent times.

Here are some pictures to those of you who just want to see the stuff:

Matthew Simmonds, a Copenhagen-based artist who from his childhood has admired sacred architecture 



Check out the detail on this magnificent sculpture!


There are many more examples in the article I linked to.

I have always been fascinated by the line between sculpture and architecture. There can be so many instances where they cross, such as the Gates of Heaven by Ghiberti. Each panel is quasi “sculpted.”

The Gates of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti


Or notice the myriad of sculptures adorning the Vatican’s beloved St. Peter’s Basilica:

St. Peter’s Basilica


This almost gets us back into our gesamterwerk ideas. Something else to note about Simmonds’ work other than its combination of two different arts, is that the marble that is used to make beautiful masterpieces of art are not perfect blocks of stone. They are hunks of marble, revealing the beauty that is inside the marble. It is almost as though we need to go into the rock to find the beauty within. You know who else took a poor piece of marble and pulled the genius from out of it? You guessed it:


'David' by Michelangelo JBU0001.JPG
Michelangelo’s David

Yep, the great one himself: Michelangelo.

So here’s the question. As an author (fantasy or otherwise), how do we take ordinary objects and refine them in new ways to upset the balance between two arts?

Symbolism is a great doorway to this question because it focuses on an object. For instance, let’s take marble. Marble is probably the theme for today, connecting almost all of the artwork listed above (with the exception being Ghiberti). What is the significance of marble? Why marble? What is it about marble that causes it to have such a beautiful luster or to attract these various artists across time to work with it? Marble is the link between the architecture and the sculpture in this case.

So going to Aristotle, it’s about the matter in this case, instead of the form (though marble does have “form,” but in terms of the art we can see the marble as the material here). The material (or the “stuff” of the object, instead of its shape/function) is what connects our two arts.

It’s the same thing that links poetry to stories: paper.

So here’s the question, does our matter hold us back or help us to link art-forms in new and interesting ways?

And music is written on paper, but no one would say the music is the paper, the same was the literature is bound to the book. Music, if anything, is the most abstract of the bunch. How can it connect to anything else without being the center piece as it was in Wagner’s “dramas”?

Some food for thoughts.

Thank you Matthew Simmonds,

Signing out,

Ascklion (Nickolas Urpi)


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