Please sit back, und ENJOY.
There once lived a man whose sole purpose and love in life was sculpting.
His statues were so extraordinary, so full of beauty that if it hadn't been for their blank eyes and their immobility, anyone would have been able to believe they were alive. The man sculpted day and night, first hitting the stones with harsh force, but as he worked his way around the form that was trapped within, the blows got progressively less fierce and gentler, until he levelled the new forms with pumice-stone and caressed them with little wads of hay.
The man could sculpt anything, let it be people, animals, mythological creatures or landscapes, busts, columns or altars; he could sculpt high reliefs as well as low reliefs, static statues that were meant to be seen only from right in front of them, statues that were meant to be disproportioned because they had to be seen from below, statues around which you had to walk to appreciate all the details.
However above all, he loved creating human beings that had to be seen from all angles: especially burly men and beautiful ladies. People were amazed at how he could recreate the impression of such soft skin and tough flesh in marble: the burly man would have rough angled features, contrasting with his rippling muscles; the woman would have the most delicate of faces and the softest of marble skins, in some places lightly covered by light marmoreal veils. Medusa herself wouldn't have been able to create more realistic stone statues with her glare.
Of course, the man's fame reached far and wide, and he received commissions from faraway places. People travelled weeks, even months to have a chance to talk to the great sculptor, and gave great sums of money in exchange for his skills. For these kinds of people the man especially sculpted a lot of religious figures: many saints, holy Mary with sweet eyes and hands, little Jesus sitting in her lap, and even more saints, other than many angels and a few devils or demons.
This man sometimes told his friends, while dining and feasting as they did almost every day, that the stone spoke to him. It whispered to him, and he could see to whom the voice belonged to, trapped inside the block. He simply took the stone in excess away, he freed them. His friends would laugh and tell him to stop saying this nonsense, and drink more instead.
Nonetheless, the man had everything a man could possibly desire: money, wealth, fame, friends and as many women as he could wish for, and as many stones to sculpt as he wanted . There was only one thing he missed: a son, and, especially as he got older, grandchildren to spoil.
That is, until one day, he picked up the chisel and hammer like he always did, and turned to face the newly arrived block of marble. He looked it over with his dark brown eyes, the big white block almost shining in the middle of his workshop. It was the finest of marbles, directly from Carrara, and his favourite. Sure, he could work with almost any material, going from rough stone to metals like bronze and gold, but Carrara's marble would always remain his favourite.
He put both tools he had picked up earlier in one of his hands, and he gently brushed the cold surface with his rough fingers, then leaning his palm onto it. This block... he had received a commission, this block had to be transformed into the image of Moses. He had already ideas in his mind, of the majestic figure sitting in some sort of throne, stroking his long flowing beard with a pensive look in his eyes...
However, that was not what the stone told him.
Strangely enough, no matter how much he concentrated, he couldn't find Moses's form in this block. This was most bizarre, this had never happened. The man frowned, puzzled: Moses simply wasn't there.
The stone told him something different entirely. Not one, but two figures had to emerge from the marble. Two young boys.
The sculptor blinked. Two boys, twins in fact, that would be the age of his grandchildren if he had ever had a son. That was what the stone whispered to him, and the sculptor roughly summoned his hand back from the marble's surface. His fist tightened, and then he threw the hammer from his left hand to his right, now brandishing a tool in each fist. A smile curled his lips upwards: he was going to free those two boys from the white marble.
The man worked for days, weeks, without getting distracted with anything else. Not even his best friend could pry him away from the cold stone. The tall friend came from far away, from over the Alps, where the Sacrum Imperium Romanum Nationis Germanicae, or Holy Roman Empire of the Germanc Nation, thrived. The friend ruffled the sculptor's hair, brushing off the abundant white marble dust, revealing dark brown curls, and complained about his obsession with the statues. Also, wasn't he supposed to be working on a statue of Moses?
The sculptor laughed and kindly pushed his friend away, telling he had never been so eager and excited with a work of his. That was saying something. Moses could wait, a couple of weeks wouldn't hurt him.
The friend sighed, knowing that there was no possibility of convincing the sculptor to leave his house until he had finished this work. Before leaving he glanced inside, in the semi-darkness of the dusk he could glimpse two roughly chiselled shapes in the marble, debris and dust covering the ground all around them in a wide circle.
The master sculptor wiped his sweaty forehead, exhaling deeply.
They were done.
His grandchildren, or how he had imagined them to be, were done.
The statues were twins, and shared the same basement. What distinguished them however was their personality. Yes, their personality, because anyone could see that the twins each had one, and almost complete opposites of each other. While the one to his right had a compassionate face, innocent, gentle and pure, the other to his left was a bit different, as his slightly downcast brows almost formed a small frown, completed by a more cunning air. However, there was an aspect that both shared: the general mischief hovering over their features and in their eyes.
This general image of their personalities had brought the sculptor to slowly change their human forms while sculpting them. In fact, he probably had been affected too much by the religious people and priests continuously asking him to make angels and demons, that... he had transformed each of the twins into one. Once he had understood that, he had poured his soul into the making of two angels, his angelic grandchildren, but... the slightly grumpier one just didn't seem to let him do that, the stone complained and groaned every time he hit it to create the feathery wings. So he had relented to its will, and had changed his plans. The stone never complained again after that.
So there he stood, and the last wad of hay fell through his slackened fingers, and into the white dust that constantly covered his workshop.
There they were. His beautiful grandchildren, the most beautiful statues he had ever created, statues in which he had poured his very soul and essence like never before. His prankster gentle angel and his prankster moody demon.
He would never let anyone see them, except for maybe his best friend. He also knew they would never be real, but he loved them as if they were nonetheless.
He closed his eyes, the exhaustion of the work finally taking its toll on him. The last thought he had as he almost literally passed out on his bed was that he needed to clean his workshop out a bit, and more importantly buy another marble block for Moses.
"It was a warm early summer night of 1507 in the city of Fiorenza, when the master sculptor Romulus Vargas completed one of his most famous works, 'The Twins', when he was barely 32 years old. The statue he had been commissioned earlier, 'Moses', was not begun until 1512 and was completed in 1513."
"Because Romulus was commissioned to paint a beautiful chapel in Rome by the pope himself, and it took him four years to complete it."
"...Paint? But he was a sculptor!"
"Very good observation. Yes, he was a skilful sculptor, however he was a very good painter as well. It's just that he regarded sculpture as the most sublime art, that's why even in his paintings his figures almost look as solid as statues."
"...So, what happened to the statue of the twins?"
"Sadly, it was lost. Art historians affirm that in the sculptor's will, they had to be buried with him. However, after his death in 1564, they were transported to Germany – the Holy Roman Empire at that time – but after that, it vanished. Pessimists say that they were destroyed, optimists still believe they are hidden somewhere in the lands of Germany, others simply come to terms with the fact that they simply vanished."
"...Mister guide, how does the legend continue?"
"Ah, that's a very interesting question. Indeed, there was a legend shrouding these statues. You see, Romulus loved these statues so much that he never separated from them, no matter what."
"Kind of like what Leonardo did with the Mona Lisa?"
"Almost. You know how big the Mona Lisa is? About this small. Romulus had it much more difficult, try carrying around a couple of full-sized statues, all the way up and down from Italy, because Romulus travelled a lot too. In any case, what I was saying is, he loved these statues so much, that they said he had literally infused them with love. This love, so the legend says, was able to bring the statues to life! But this legend has deeper roots, back to – hear this – Ovid and his Metamorphoses. Does anyone know the legend of Pygmalion...?"
Medusa : Mythological monster, described to have an ugly female face and venomous living snakes instead of hair: gazing directly into her eyes would turn the onlooker into stone.
Marble of Carrara : It's a type of white (or blue-grey) marble of high quality, popular for use in sculpture and building decor. It is quarried at the city of Carrara, the northernmost tip of modern-day Tuscany, Italy. Many sculptures of the Renaissance, such as Michelangelo's David (1501–04), were carved from Carrara marble: for Michelangelo at least, Carrara marble was valued above all other stone.
Sacrum Imperium Romanum Nationis Germanicae : (Latin) The Holy Roman Empire of the Germanic Nation.
Fiorenza : (Medieval Italian) Florence
Romulus Vargas : I basically took the life of Michelangelo Buonarroti, genius sculptor of the Renaissance, and substituted Romulus's name in it, as well as his character, because Romulus's character and Michelangelo's couldn't be more different. In any case, all the dates that appear are accurate for Michelangelo's life, like his birthdate (6th of March 1475), the painting of the Sistine Chapel (1508-1512), the sculpture of Moses (1512-1513), and his death (18th February 1564). Obviously, the date of 'The Twins' was totally made up by me.
Pygmalion : Pygmalion is most familiar from Ovid's narrative poem Metamorphoses, in which Pygmalion was a sculptor who fell in love with the statue of a woman he had carved out of ivory. He had called her 'Galatea'. According to Ovid, he was "not interested in women", but his statue was so fair and realistic that he fell in love with it. In time, Aphrodite's festival day came, and Pygmalion made offerings at the altar of Aphrodite. There he quietly wished for a bride who would be "the living likeness of my ivory girl". When he returned home, he kissed his ivory statue, and found that its lips felt warm. He kissed it again, and found that the ivory had lost its hardness. Aphrodite had granted Pygmalion's wish. Pygmalion married the ivory sculpture changed to a woman under Aphrodite's blessing. In Ovid's narrative, they had a son, Paphos, from whom the city's name is derived. In some versions, they also had a daughter, Metharme.
Ugh, sorry for the long notes.
Hey there everybody! I AM BACK.
Kind of. In any case, I survived my exams, yohoo!
So, the 'Statue story' won the poll, with a whopping 62% advantage on the other 3 stories! Thanks to all the unique 107 voters, 62 of which voted for this story. Which was actually not the one I actually wanted to write, but oh well! I hope you will like it.
First things first, I'm not planning to make it as long as my other stories. I plan on stopping around the 20th chapter this time, or at least that is my intention, hahah. And after that, you'll get another poll, +insert evil laugh here please*
Also, since the title is obviously 'The twin statues of PARIS', this will take place in the modern-day city of Paris. Which I do not know. I hate not knowing the things I write about, so I already know I'll have to research like an idiot and harass my French neighbour when he comes back from his holidays ^^
Last but not least, I have no idea how fast I will update this. Like, no idea at all. No plan. Nothing. It's almost embarassing that I already put up this prologue... So keep that in mind, until further notice. The cause of this 'I don't have any idea when I will update' is because I will move this August, I will leave Italy to study university in the rainy Netherlands. So before that time I will be crazily busy doing all sorts of stuff ._."
But still! You know that I love you all, that I love writing stories, that I always try my best to get stuff up whenever I can, and that I never leave a story unfinished. After that is said and done, I'm off! See you all next chapter, whenever it is!