a journal for eastern and western forms


Ekphrastic Free Verse ~ Museum Epiphany II

Poet Bernard Gieske, US and Painter Warren Prosperi, US


Painting by Warren Prosperi

Museum Epiphany II


I wonder……
Is that you examining the Kaufmann head?

Praxiteles was no common sculptor
To create such a work of beauty as this


Is that you holding the camera looking elsewhere?
Shadows pulling at the edges of what you want to see

Museums covet the works of the past
What can they possibly tell you about you?

You have come in out of the cold
Wrapped up silhouetted in black
Your gaze intent on this white marbled head
What draws you to this Grecian room?
What holds you in this trance?
Are you ready for an epiphany?

This face once frozen in stone then released
Ah! This dialogue of duality….
A search for what is already there
                          …then expose it…..

Just a face frozen in stone
Softly uncovered in the white of day

You do well to look the other way
See how Kaufman’s Head is looking that way

April, 2, 2012


“From a personal standpoint, what happens to me in museums, what I bring to it as a viewer, is I go to a museum and see works of fellow craftsmen and it is like looking back in time at these ancient pieces from which one learns to point and draw,” says Prosperi.  “You have to let the Greeks speak to you at some level as that is what makes one a classical painter. This is what I’ve dedicated my life to and so when I see work like this, it helps me understand what I’m doing with my life.”

Prosperi was particularly taken with the sculptural piece known as the Kaufmann head attributed to the great Praxiteles.

“It is truly magnificent and I, had an epiphany drawing that piece,” says Prosperi.  “I was first impressed by the simplified geometry that it has, so I tried to simplify my geometry by softening it and then it looked too mushy. And that is why his is such a great piece—it is a perfect  blance between optical softness and geometrical clarity, so balanced that it is a thing of exquisite refinement.”

And, by drawing this classical head, Prosperi’s epiphany came to him about classical art.

“It told me what the Greeks were upto,” says Prosperi. “The balance between the ideal and the real, the goddess and the human, they hunted for that balance and that is the perennial lesson for painters and sculptors for 2,000 years until modernism. How do you get that balance? How do you make your point through Collector, design?

From American Art Collector,  June 2011. Also see this link:



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