Also at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, wandering alone through the trees in the dusk I came across some figures, each standing alone but within calling distance of the others. Actually they seemed very companionable and approachable.. I found out later they were made by Elizabeth Frink. They were carved out of plaster built up on a metal armature and then cast in bronze. There were several of her sculptures which were all male nudes, some running, one sitting, another standing with his arms folded.. they just seemed very natural and completely at home.
There was one called Atlas which was a sculpture of a man holding the frame of a sphere above him: this was inspired by the greek myth in which Atlas is lumbered with holding the weight of the heavens upon his shoulders: I am not convinced by this one, I don’t see that this sculpture appears to be shouldering a heavy weight.
” ‘The original figures,’ writes Frink, ‘were very beautiful, but also very sinister, and that is what they are supposed to be. … these were warriors who would go out and fight your battles for you, mercenaries, but in return they had to have certain sacrifices made to them. In other words they were thugs. Even though I don’t particularly like sinister things, thuggishness is a bit of a preoccupation with me. It all hinges on my humanitarian sentiments.’ Frink’s fascination with the fact that these figures had two sides to them is brought out in her set of Riace figures. She has used different coloured patinas to put masks on them. ‘It’s a way of showing that their beauty in a sense hides what they are up to.’ ” Quoted from Frink: A Portrait, written with Edward Lucie-Smith and published by Bloomsbury in 1994, after her death.