By Alfredo Cernadas
Horses are a favorite choice for artists who portray animals, at least in this country, whose development owes so much to the equine race. Even so, the horse has fared much better in the second than the in the third dimension when it comes to its presence in a work of art. There are not many sculptures of horses but, even if there were, few would equal, let alone surpass the works by Vivianne Duchini. There is a very special, quality in her works. It is obvious that she knows her subject intimately, as she well should, being an experienced rider who is in touch with horses almost daily. But that knowledge and the inherent technical mastery of Duchinis output does not just lead to admirably decorative pieces, perfectly crafted to the minutest detail. In fact, there is much more than that in this artist’s horses and dogs.For she also knows and loves dogs, as any animal lover surely does. The difference and advantage of Duchinis sculptures is that they have soul. They move me deeply, as very few works of art do. And these also happen to be mostly sculptures: Michelangelo’s Pieta, Bourdelles Hercules, Rodins Burgers of Calais (Picasso’s Guernica, Dali’s and Mantegnas Christ are among the paintings). The items now reviewed are much smaller than these above masterworks. But this is certainly a case when size does not matter. In fact it helps to connect the viewer with the artist in an intimate, unique way. Duchini portrays elegant Arabian steeds, brimming with life and energy. She catches them in spontaneous, exciting moments, galloping wildly, standing alert, staring at some unseen object that has caught their attention, relating with a friend. Or she shows a mare gently fondling her offspring, or eagerly communicating with a sympathetic dog. The eloquence of these beautiful portraits is also achieved by a very personal technique that gives each piece an extra something: although the figures are anatomically perfect whether still or in motion, the finish is not sleek, nor glossy as that of other famous French and English animaliers. Duchinis surfaces are slightly rough, more modern, if you wish, they catch the light in a different, livelier manner, thus adding a thoroughly, personal touch.In all, one of the best shows in town.