Monday, February 20, 2017

Modern Go-Getter Monday ~ Ann Hyatt Huntington, the Artist Who Gave Us The Youthful Diana

the youthful diana
The Youthful Diana
People who love art always talk about that one piece that started it for them--that embodies what they adore. It never stops inspiring them, never ceases to make them catch their breath when they see it again. My moment was at the San Diego Museum of Art, when I saw Ann Hyatt Huntington's The Youthful Diana. I was blown away--I couldn't take my eyes off of her. Never have I coveted something so much. Wanted to be able to see that sculpture every day. I have seen Diana twice.

  I think what captured me most was that nostalgia, and the stamp of the divine. That childlike, wild freedom that struck me so intensely. It's the main thing I miss from my childhood. That wild abandon, the purity of just being yourself, a young power in a new world. Removed from ideas of what girls and boys should be. Removed from dogma. Just completely, powerfully natural. I remember the time when I had no idea that girls "where supposed" to act a certain way. My happiest years where my youngest ones. Sure I got into a lot of trouble. But it was just from me being my wandering self. The idea that I was supposed to act like a certain type of person came years later. And I'm sure there's plenty out there who know how heartbreaking that is. To change yourself,  and not for improvement, but just to be something else other than what you are. We all have our reasons. And sometimes, we discover we were lying to ourselves, and slowly we find our way back. Back to authenticity. Those who have done that, know the purity of that joy. That release. Back to the wild things.

san diego museum of art
Shoot for the stars.
  Ann Hyatt Huntington is the one who crafted The Youthful Diana. I was fascinated that this sculpture that so immediately captured my affections, was created by a woman. In a time when it was hard to do anything, be anything other than domestic. That takes guts, determination, and authenticity. Only those who are strong in who they are, (that does not mean we are free from doubt) and refuse to accept the yoke of unnatural expectations, make a step forward. Attain success, even if it isn't complete. Challenge the status quo, pave the way for others.

  Huntington discovered her talent for sculpting as a young adult, but she already had a love the anatomy of animals and a great affection for horses. Honestly I was so thrilled when I saw pictures of her other art--I have a very naturalistic taste for sculpture, and she brought to life what I thought perfect art looked like. The animals were so alive--the warriors so passionate. You could sense the ripple of the muscles beneath their skin, sense the tension of the cat ready to spring. Huntington was a genius. She continues to inspire me, as does Diana. (More on that another time--a story is brewing).

el cid, san diego
El Cid, also done by Huntington. San Diego, California.
  Huntington accomplished what few were able even decades later. She became famous for her work, was commissioned by high and low, was well recognized by many peers and received many honors. And all this through early to mid 1900's. Can you imagine how many she must have inspired? And not only was she an artist who pursued her art and accomplished many things, but she had the incredible blessing of a husband who supported her in everything. How many can say that? One can accomplish a great deal on one's own--but having your best friend stand by you all the way? Now that is a blessing few can boast.

  Huntington died on Oct 4, 1973. Same year as Tolkien. (The nerd rears its head). I would love to be able to travel and see all her works--and it'll be a heck of an endeavor. They are all around the world. Gracing zoos, parks, private collections. Memorials. Now The Youthful Diana--still in San Diego Museum of Art--I will visit time and time again, whenever I get a chance. She reminds me to never let go of the magic and youthful power we are born with. To shoot for the stars. And Huntington reminds me to never give up on what you were meant to do.


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