Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Corrado Parducci's Stations of the Cross

In the process of preparing my book, "Shadowing Parducci" for publication I am scanning hundreds of prints and slides - the result of the 25 years spent collecting them. Since all the photos used in the publication will be in b/w, that is how I am scanning them. Fortunately my scanner can convert color slides into b/w pixels, so that helps. But here is what just happened.

I was working on Parducci's Stations of the Cross from the Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, Michigan, and as I was scanning them - a fairly slow and laborious process - I was running through what I was going to write about them since there are interesting stories, both about CP's interactions with the notorious Father Coughlin and with his brother Rudolph - that you will have to wait for the book to get - and I was struck by how wonderful the Stations looked, bathed in the light from the church's stained glass windows, and was lamenting that the color would be lost in the book when it occurred to me that the color could be saved on my blog. So here I am. Here we are. Here they are. Some of them are not very crisp, but I made a choice to shoot them without a flash to try and capture how they looked being there.

A couple of the things that captivated me about these works was the amount of detail in the background and the interesting cast of characters the the Parduccis placed around the scene, Pilate, Simon, Caiaphas, the Marys, the Roman soldiers and a bunch more. Check them out for yourselves and enjoy.

For those interested in more on Fr. Coughlin I recommend Donald Warren's book "Radio Priest - Charles Coughlin, The Father of Hate Radio". You won't find Parducci in it, but, hey, you can't have everything.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Corrado Parducci's Zodiacs

It is always interesting, at least for me, to speculate as to who chooses the various themes and symbolic content that is then carved on a building. Sometimes it is a building committee or patron, other times it's the architect and occasionally the sculptor gets to decide. I suppose that mostly it is some combination of (remember this one from Multiple Choice Test Questions), "all of the above."

So here and now we are going to look at several different versions of the 12 Signs of the Zodiac that Parducci produced. As is usually the case, if you wish to know where these can be found, wait for my book, "Shadowing Parducci'' to come out, or just leave something in the comments.

Check out more architectural sculpture here


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Corrado Parducci - Detroit's master architectural sculptor

Corrado Parducci was possibly America's most prolific architectural sculptor, working, by his account, on or in over 600 buildings. I am producing a book, "Shadowing Parducci" that is an attempt to catch on paper what he did in clay, plaster, stone, terra cotta, bronze and wood. While reviewing his work many themes are presenting themselves and I think I'll respond to some of them here.

American art is frequently ambivalent about the place of Native Americans and their treatment in sculpture reflects this feeling. In architectural sculpture the use of both figures of natives and of their decorative elements was fairly widespread, particularly during the 1920s and 1930s. Parducci generated quite a few such images, many of them reproduced here.

During the 1950s (?) CP (as he is sometimes called . . ... by me) was commissioned to create a statue of the Shawnee leader Tecumseh to be placed on a rough fieldstone pedestal on Walpole Island, First Nations territory across the Canadian border from Detroit. Funding for the project fell through and all that remains of the project is the pedestal and the maquette that CP produced.

As always, feel free to drop me a comment if you wish more details on these works, or anything else.