Untitled (Woman Testing Water)

Artist Unknown

created circa 1970
Limestone, 61" x 7.5" x 17"
A Gift of the Stuart and Barbara Padnos Foundation
Physical rights are retained by Grand Valley State University. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. Copyright laws.
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About The Artwork

This decorative sculpture features a woman standing on a platform-like self-base dipping a toe as if testing the temperature of water. Stylized forms prevail, from the broad and uniform tresses of hair to the ballet-slipper like feet. The elongated body suggests the grace and strength of a dancer, while its positioning implies an imminent plunge into the pool.

Limestone, a traditional medium for sculpture because of its ease of carving, can also be shaped by the vicissitudes of the elements. Indeed, the sculptor suggests erosion or flowing water through the striated stabilizing form between the figure’s calves. Cheekily referencing the proclivity in Western art for depicting nude females in various guises, the untitled sculpture follows a long tradition of carved and painted bathers. Appropriately, the Padnos family installed this sculpture next to an outdoor pool.


Assistant Professor, Frederik Meijer Honors College, Grand Valley State University



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