Saturday, May 24, 2014

(E)scape Goat Redux


















My favorite animal art is from Medieval bestiaries, so when I could NOT get that goat out of my mind all day, I came home and whipped out a book of Medieval bestiaries from the Cloisters in Manhattan.  I found a number of goat scupltures from churches mainly and a few goat drawings from books of hours.  I drew after several of these, trying to see what common features these artists focused on in their stylization.  Immediately it became clear that most of the goats in this collection were having a bad run of luck-- all but one were being eaten by lions, killed by dragons, or eaten by a single lion.  Goats symbolized sin and fallen humanity.  There's that sort of creepy Bible story about separating goats from sheep, and of course the sheep were the good creatures and the goats had to go to the sinister, or left,  hand of the judgmental and testy lord.

Other common features:  all the goats had hair stylized in clumps and had concentric circles around their horns.The one goat who was happily chomping on some leaves, unbothered by any other animal, had the same clumpy coat and stripey horns.  All had cloven hooves, and all had large eyes that lacked much definition (probably because they were stone carvings and the convention for eyes was an unarticulated oval embedded in thick lids, those Byzantine eyes still hanging on).
So tonight I redrew P's (e)scape goat as a Medieval goat, gave him stylized clumpy hair and striped horns, big oval eyes and cloven hooves.  P told me he needed a collar and that he now remembered that his beard extended all the way to his collar.  P thought the faux-Medieval goat looked more like his goat than did the police-artist composite that I drew last night.  So in the spirit of Medieval sculpture, here's the (e)scape goat.

4 comments:

  1. Isn't there another goat-related story in the Bible about how the ancient Israelites metaphorically "loaded" a goat with their sins and then cast it out of the village? THe first scape goat. I don't know why goats got such a raw deal -- maybe their cloven hooves? Their weird oval pupils? I like your revised Medieval e(scape) goat.

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    1. I've seen a pre-Raphaelite painting of the scapegoat, very eerie and sad. Yes, that same story. Poor goats. In the bestiary it says they were considered to symbolize fallen and sinful humanity. I think that could be read "lustful" humanity. The same bestiary says cats were a symbol of heretics!

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  2. Love this! Glad you went your own way! ;)

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    1. Having lots of fun with that goat image!

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