This week I went to the Royal Academy of Art to see the Modern British Sculpture exhibition. There were several impressive pieces, one of which was Adam by Sir Jacob Epstein. Carved out of alabaster in 1938/39, all two ton of the gargantuan Adam looked good enough to eat.
Jacob Epstein, ‘Adam’, 1938-39. By kind permission of The Earl and Countess of Harewood/Photo Leeds Museums & Galleries (Henry Moore Institute Archive)/© The estate of Sir Jacob Epstein.
‘In the flesh’ it were as if he were carved out of dusted rose turkish delight. Delectably delicious would be an understatement. It is almost as if, in all his glory, face flung to the sun, he were worshiping heaven bound, in praise of his own virility. Such a strong solid, sculpture invites you/requires you, to smooth your hands over the contours of the form, and your finger tips over the perfect warm blemishes of the mineral. However, touching is never permitted in such a sacred space. Forever a frustration.
His entire sheer size is all dominating and unforgiving. One feels automatically Eve, and female in comparison. And although there is something humbling about being female in his presence, all I could think of was the journey for all males, from the Alpha to the Omega, not an easy journey from Adam to Christ. In Christ’s intimate presence, one does not feel Eve, female. One feels intrinsically and beautifully, belovedly feminine.
I know which feeling I prefer.
The Light of Christ/ Christ yesterday and today,/ the beginning and the end,/ Alpha and Omega;/ all time belongs to him,/ and all ages;/ to him be glory and power,/ through every age and for ever. Amen