A Rear View

Mary Liz Ingram —  March 17, 2014 — Leave a comment

It’s been nine years since I sat on the cool marble bench, in a brightly lit room, surrounded by people.

One of my dearest friends by my side, we stared at a very nice, very shapely rear end.

We had quite a conversation about this certain rump, exposed and shining in the overhead light.

We laughed and closed one eye, pretending to give it a pinch from our seats.

We even took a few pictures.

Michelangelo knew how to sculpt a butt. David has quite a nice tushy.

That was not the only time I’ve been mooned by a statue.

We residents of Birmingham, Alabama can be mooned any day of the week by our resident Roman god of the forge, Vulcan.

Sloss Furnace, 12x14 pastel

Sloss Furnace, 12×14 pastel

Vulcan watches over “the Magic City,” which grew so fast in the early 1900s due to the abundance of materials and ability to make iron and steel (hence Sloss Furnaces!). He has a pretty cool story. We had to write reports all about him back in my early school days. Here’s a snippet about Vulcan, but you should really check out Vulcan’s full story.

“Vulcan, Birmingham Alabama’s colossal statue is the world’s largest cast iron statue and considered one of the most memorable works of civic art in the United States. Designed by Italian artist Giuseppe Moretti and cast from local iron in 1904, it has overlooked the urban landscape of Alabama’s largest city since the 1930s.” (source)

So in my pursuit of capturing iconic landmarks and pieces of the “Retro South” with my pastels, I of course am obligated to give homage to Vulcan.

Now, Birmingham residents may notice what I chose to depict in his hand. Vulcan, restored in 1999, now holds a spear. But when I was growing up, he held a lighted torch. It glowed green on days when there were no traffic fatalities, and red when someone had died in an accident.

Perhaps a little strange, a little morbid, a little heavy for kids, but my sister and I were obsessed with seeing if anyone died or not each day. I confess I was a little disappointed when this quirky signal was changed. But hey, my kids still love to see if they can spy Vulcan atop Red Mountain whenever there’s a chance.

And they thought it hilarious the day we were at Vulcan Park, standing on his pedestal overlook, high in the air, looking up at his big naked booty.

Vulcan, 8x13 pastel

Vulcan, 8×13 pastel

Mary Liz Ingram


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