Study Falling Man/Intaglio

Ernest Tino Trova

American, 1927 - 2009

Study Falling Man/Intaglio, 1966

  • Not On View

Bronze

Dimensions: 78 1/4 × 29 1/2 × 29 1/2 in. (198.8 × 74.9 × 74.9 cm)

Gift of Hudson’s, 1986.13

In 1961, Ernest Tino Trova introduced a new motif into his work: the Falling Man. The motif would not only preoccupy him for the next several years, it would come to define his career as well. The Falling Man is not a portrait of a particular man, but is instead a symbol for man in general. Although rendered in almost every conceivable medium, it is realized most successfully in a series of highly polished sculptures in bronze and stainless steel, a group that includes Study Falling Man/Intaglio.The Falling Man is an altogether enigmatic figure. He has no distinguishing facial features and consequently lacks any kind of emotional expression, a state that consigns him to both the anonymous and the universal. Despite Trova's assertions to the contrary, the Falling Man can not be securely classified as either adult or child, male or female, although the name would imply an adult male. Age and gender are depicted in an ambiguous way, owing largely to the absence of genitalia. While the subject’s legs are relatively strong and muscular, like those of a mature man, its small, oval head is youthful in appearance, as are its slim, graceful shoulders. Conversely, its soft contours, smooth skin, and rounded belly are undeniably feminine, even though it does not have breasts. In shape and form, the Falling Man makes reference to classical sculpture as well as modern artistic forms. There is a similarity between the Falling Man and statues of Egyptian pharaohs, particularly the New Kingdom rulers Akhenaton and Tutankhamun.

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