Saturday, October 30, 2010
Nude Statues in Gratz Park
The fountain (which hasn't been running the last few times I've gone by it) in Lexington's Gratz Park features these two semi-nude figures frolicking eternally in bronze.
Given the modern-day prudism regarding the human body in public art - consider John Ashcroft's covering the bare-breasted Spirit of Justice statue, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli censoring his own state's seal, and Republican delegate Robert Hurt's mission to censor all nude art in Washington D.C. - it's surprising that some squeamish sorts haven't already crocheted some clothes for these skyclad splashers.
The fountain and statuary were donated to the city of Lexington by the great novelist James Lane Allen, a graduate of Transylvania University. Allen was part of the growing "Local Color" movement in literature in the late 19th century. Rather than writing in a generalized setting and style that everyone could easiy relate to, the "Local Color" or "Regionalist" writers sought to use their stories to document the dialect, the people, and notable places in a specific locale. (Another Kentucky example: Annie Fellows Johnston's Little Colonel series of books.)