A few years ago I was at a major exhibition of bronze Sculpture
in the Royal Academy. Going around the exhibition and Looking at each
of the pieces in turn, I came upon a large bronze copy of Laocoon.
Laocoon was the Trojan priest who tried to warn his compatriots of
the potential danger from the Greek horse left outside the city walls.
The bronze in the exhibition was a copy of an antique marble sculpture
that was unearthed in Rome in 1506 and presumed to date from sometime
after 200BC. It’s a remarkable depiction of three writhing figures:
Laocoon and his two sons Antiphantes and Thymbraeus as they are
attacked by serpents. Excavated at the height of the Renaissance,
it quickly became a major influence on the artists of the period.
No sooner had I spotted the twisted torso when I also saw, directly
between myself and the statue, a chap sitting down, furiously sketching
as though his life depended on it. Clearly the sculpture had lost none
of its visual appeal and I can remember thinking that this artist,
even though I could only see him from the back, looked quite similar
in appearance to ‘that’ Andrew Marr.
Then, about a year or so later, browsing in my local bookshop in
Sevenoaks, I came across, ‘A short book about drawing‘ by Andrew Marr.
I took it from the shelf and, with poetic symmetry, the page fell open
at a vibrant sketch of the Trojan and his two sons.