Leonard Baskin, The Prodigal Son

Leonard Baskin
The Prodigal Son

Leonard Baskin, (1922–2000) American sculptor, graphic artist and printmaker, was strongly influenced by the Old Testament, Sumerian and Egyptian art. According to Baskin a work of art was the result of a clash between the material and the vitality and force of the motive. In his sculptures, he wanted to keep as much as possible of the original stone block, so that they would rest better in space and gain in expressive power. Dignity, humanity and an ability to express what was inside through the sculpture’s outside became Baskin’s hallmarks as a sculptor. His sculptures were always figurative, many of them self-portraits because he meant that the foundation of sculpture lies in the human form. The exploration of the human body he compares to a search for the image of man – who in spite of his wretchedness still is a magnificent creature.

The Prodigal Son (bronze 1971 purchased 1972) is an emotionally charged description of forgiveness. Father and son embrace in a fond reunion. It is as if their kinship is created in the bands of fabric winding around the two figures.