[The following passage has been added by George P. Landow, Editor-in-chief of the Victorian Web, whose review pf Body Doublesis available on this site.]

Throughout the history of sculpture, there have been examples of the deliberate avoidance or mitigation of the unifacial, most notably in the multi-figure compositions of Giambologna but also visible in the work of such artists as Antonio Canova. These exceptions, however, demonstrate how much unifaciality has been taken as axiomatic for the statuary format and its representation of the singular human body. Leighton's Athlete was one such concerted departure from the unitary, organizing viewpoint. More importantly, however, Leighton allegorized plurifaciality and its potential for the viewer, theorizing sculpture in terms of its physicality and temporality. In effect, he took adverse criticisms of sculpture such as those offered by Baudelaire and turned them into the core strengths of his statue. . . . . Leighton incorporated the rotational experience of the small sculptures into the composition of his statue, creating a work which the compositional spiral is both clear and overriding. [31]


Getsy, David J. Body Doubles: Sculpture in Britain, 1877-1905. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004.

Last modified 13 May 2013