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500 words

March 5, 2017

Diana Hunting – by Giovanni Maria Benzoni

This sculpture is one of two displayed within the cafe. Both are by ‘Giovani Maria Benzoni’, whose work is not displayed anywhere else in the museum, and are the only two sculptures in the V&A’s collection. This sculpture is made of entirely marble, and is a copy (with some alterations) of ‘Diana of Versailles’, a popular sculpture in the louvre. The sculpture depicts a woman with her dog, holding an arrow and a bow. Similar to the original however this one has a dog instead of a deer. This changes the feel of the sculpture and the story it tells. It shows a hunter just setting out with her dog as her aid in a hunt, in comparison to the original which is post hunt with a caught deer. The other notable difference is the direction that the head is facing of the woman. In the original she is depicted facing away from animal, and towards the arrow she is drawing out, showing an intention to kill the animal. However Benzoni’s she is looking away from the arrow, this give a feel of searching to Benzoni’s sclupture. As a result of this and the more relaxed facial expression and more delicate pose in Benzoni’s it has a softer feel. This is all very stereotypical of neo-classical sculpture.

The cafe has a very clean white, modern aesthetic, making the white marble fit in well. The use of the sculpture In the cafe is replicating the hunt for food, that the visitor is engaging in. Due to the softness it creates a calm feeling within the space. The dog creates a feel of companionship either relating to the relationship between the visitor and the museum, or families visiting. Making anyone entering the space feel welcome. The statue is also facing a mirror, so can be viewed from most seats in the room. The watching of the statue also creates a feeling of security.

The museum decided to include this statue in the cafe because of a desire of wanting to encourage passing people into the cafe to look at the statue and in turn encourage the purchase of food. It creates a more interesting space that feels a part of the museum and not just an extra space to eat making it a more appealing place to sit and eat in, stay longer, and spend more money in. Only two sculptures were chosen because of the requirement of space to eat and have tables. They are placed at either side of the cafe area, to encourage the walking through past the cafe stall, further encouraging the purchase of food.

The Statue is befitting of the environment due to its delicate nature as well as the form and image it is depicting relating to the space it is within. While making the cafe more appealing and encouraging visitors to enter and use the cafe, increasing museum profit.

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