OOSI Sculpture

Boy and Panther Cub

1915 / Malvina Hoffman / Cleveland

Cub3 2017.jpg

Poised in a dainty, balletic position, a young boy feeds a panther grapes off the vine. He is slender, but strong. He is nude, save for a fur draping that sprawls across his torso. His arm arches up and over his head, holding the grapes that he feeds to the young panther cub in his other arm.

Hidden in the boy's tousled hair are what looks to be two premature horns and his face is held in a pointed grimace, rather than a soft and caring smile.

It is very likely that this is a sculpture of the Roman wine god Dionysus in his youth. Dionysus is often pictured with bull's horns, which would have been much smaller when he was a boy, the grapes are an obvious connection to the wine that he is lord of, and it is not uncommon to have him represented riding a panther.

Hoffman was known for sculpting dancers in the late nineteenth, early twentieth century, and her talents are certainly on display here. Despite the pose not indicating any great amount of movement, the tension in the boy's body and his balletic form are clearly results of Hoffman's love for the natural beauty of the body in use.

County

: Cuyahoga

Tags

: , , ,

Citation

: Malvina Hoffman, “Boy and Panther Cub,” Ohio Outdoor Sculpture Inventory, accessed October 17, 2017, http://oosi.sculpturecenter.org/items/show/1373.

Dublin Core

Title

Boy and Panther Cub

Description

Poised in a dainty, balletic position, a young boy feeds a panther grapes off the vine. He is slender, but strong. He is nude, save for a fur draping that sprawls across his torso. His arm arches up and over his head, holding the grapes that he feeds to the young panther cub in his other arm.

Hidden in the boy's tousled hair are what looks to be two premature horns and his face is held in a pointed grimace, rather than a soft and caring smile.

It is very likely that this is a sculpture of the Roman wine god Dionysus in his youth. Dionysus is often pictured with bull's horns, which would have been much smaller when he was a boy, the grapes are an obvious connection to the wine that he is lord of, and it is not uncommon to have him represented riding a panther.

Hoffman was known for sculpting dancers in the late nineteenth, early twentieth century, and her talents are certainly on display here. Despite the pose not indicating any great amount of movement, the tension in the boy's body and his balletic form are clearly results of Hoffman's love for the natural beauty of the body in use.

Creator

Date

1915

Source

plaque

Sculpture Item Type Metadata

Location City

Location County