Courtyard Maquettes: Spirited Geometry

Rubin’s maquettes began with his personal interpretations and approaches to making stelae and totems.  Later, he began incorporating boldly defined geometric shapes into those organic forms.  This animated fusion of styles creates a sense that spirits or natural forces inhabit the pieces.   Can those leggy rectangles walk? Do the cubes dream?  The artist’s touch is visible not only in his expressive surface treatment, but in Rubin’s uniquely personal, acid imposed patinas, a trademark of his work.  By using traditional rather than industrial fabrication techniques, Rubin’s artistic involvement is evident in each work from beginning to end generic cymbalta.

A number of maquettes in the artist’s collection are available for courtyard enlargement.

Just as paintings often begin with a sketch, large sculptures evolve from scale models in plaster, wax or clay called maquettes.   These models represent original ideas–newly formed– before their completion as finished products. For decades, sculptor Rubin Peacock experimented with shapes and ideas through maquettes, which resulted in bronze or stone and bronze sculptures.
Beginning in the 1980s he created a series of maquettes, later commissioned as bronze sculptures by private collectors to enliven their intimate courtyard spaces.  Some of these maquettes evolved into full-scale pieces, like the bronze (shown left)   at the headquarters of The Carpenter Co. in Richmond, VA.  Because maquettes reveal how an artist develops an idea or style over time, collectors value them.  In fact, the Museo dei Bozzetti in Pietrasanta, Italy, where Rubin lived for a period, has a significant collection of maquettes.

Available  in the Rubin Peacock Studio

Water Buffalo Stele,  (8″ H), $3,500

Winged Stele,  (11″ H x 12″ W)  $2,500  

Fishhook Stele, (10-1/2″ H), $1,800

Primeval Geometry, (13″ H x 6″ W), $3,500

Lightning Stele, (10-1/2″ H), $1,800

Reliquary Stele, (10″ H), $1,800

Ancient Sources, Modern Spirit

Totems and Steles: Art for the Ages

     In the spring of this year, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts installed Rubin Peacock‘s  “Fantasy Stele” in its Sculpture Garden, the first by a Virginia artist. But this piece has a history going back to 1978.  That year, Rubin was in Pietrasanta, Italy working on a commissioned bronze for the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, VA.
      During that nine-month stay, Rubin worked on other commissions.  From these open-ended invitations to explore his creativity, Rubin created the first seven-inch model for what evolved into the VMFA piece.   Rubin created numerous variations of this sculpture not only in bronze but in stone.  Henrietta Near saw one of the maquettes and commissioned a larger piece in memory of her husband, Pinkney, the revered first curator of the VMFA. This year, she generously donated that bronze, which is yet another variation on a theme.  Like many artists, Rubin  struck upon a creative vein that seized his imagination.

Kanahwa Landscape


Stele in San Augustine, Columbia

A stele (stee-lee) is an upright slab or pillar   bearing an inscription or design, often inscribed or carved in relief.  In ancient times, stelai (plural,stee-lay) served as gravestones,  monuments, or boundary markers.  Similar to stelai are totems, usually an animal or other natural figures that spiritually represents a clan or tribe.  Typically, totems are designed with animals, people or spirit figures of ancestral significance. Totems, like stelai, commemorate important events and memorialize family or tribal stories.
      The figurative presence and other-worldly character of Rubin’s stelai/totems, the fineness of their incised detail and hauntingly evocative hieroglyphs hearken back to ancient sources yet reflect a modernism all their own.

A sample of available totems and steles in the Rubin Peacock Studio

Swirling Stele

Stele with Holes

Square Head Stele


Rippled Stele