beyond my refusal / by annabelle schatteman sculptor

It is calm in and around the studio and I can work well. The alarming news that we had to leave the building is less threatening than it seemed at first and the wild speculation and heated discussions slowly faded away . So there is time and space to work, think and .....write a bit about the latest developments of my work.

But before I say anything about what I am working on now, I feel the need to stand still and give the last finished piece the attention it deserves. The title is `beyond my refusal`and it is the second in my bronze series of women in armour .Here is a little story about how this one came to be.

Some years ago, while visiting the Uffizi in Firenze, I was struck by a Botticelli painting of the annunciation. This painting captured my attention much longer than the average `annunciation` painting, mainly because of the hesitant pose of Mary when called upon by the angel to be the chosen as the mother of Christ. As a spectator I can not go around the feeling that, in this particular painting, Botticelli willingly or unwillingly succeeded in giving her a delicate somewhat extra, an extra dimension that I, up until now, did not see in any other renaissance painting of this theme. It feels like Mary tries to evade, refuse, this heavy burden, wrapped up as a blessing, imposed upon her by the angel. As a young girl, raised at home and in school to be a faithful catholic, the dubious story of the annunciation and the imposed submissive position of Mary (and many other saints) always filled me with horror. Horror, maybe even panic, because of the realisation that it takes so much courage and strength to refuse a power, a force stronger than yourself. In that whole story they never gave her the option to refuse! So somehow the position of Mary in this painting, where( in my perception), she tries to (in her renaissance, well mannered way of course) ~kindly thank the angel, but says` no thank you` and then actually wants to run away, stayed in the back of my head for a long time...until I was working on my new `sculptures in armour` and right before I was going home, I had a sudden urge to build up this pose, just to see.....

What was Just to see became a couple of hours later,and there she was.....just as I pictured her for all these years, `kindly but decisively refusing. Only.....what lies beyond the refusal, one never knows. That is the risk one takes....


beyond my refusal