Artist: Richard MacDonald
Title: The Gymnast
Medium: Bronze Sculpture
Size: 51.5" x 18.5" x 40.25"
A master of figurative sculpture, Richard MacDonald has been transforming life into art, celebrating the beauty of the human form. Creating stunning bronze sculptures of acrobats, dancers, and athletes, he focuses both on their astounding physique and their inner states of being.
An homage to the dedication, desire, and determination of the athletes as they strive to be the best they can, “The Gymnast” from 1995 majestically celebrates the resilience of the human spirit. The work depicts an athlete skillfully balancing on a circle which symbolizes the world itself and the unity of humankind, sending a powerful message that this harmonic future is reachable. Rendered in realistic perfection, with an emphasis on every single muscle, the work reflects the artist’s exceptional artistry and craftsmanship.
A work of great emotional strength, it also reflects the guiding principle of the Olympic Games that the struggle is more important than victory. This is the reason why MacDonald was commissioned to create a 26-ft monumental version of the work for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. A donation from the artist to the state of Georgia, the city of Atlanta and Georgia World Congress Center, it remains in Georgia International Plaza as a gateway to the gymnastics pavilion.
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Devoted to exploring of the human form, Richard MacDonald is often regarded as the world’s leading figurative sculptor today. This ingenious aesthete has been creating bronze sculptures with a relentless enthusiasm for over thirty years. Often described as Realism, his work is a part of the neo-figurative movement and it is greatly inspired by motion and the art of dance.
Originally, Richard MacDonald was classically trained as a painter, having graduated Cum laude from the Art Center College of Design in 1971. His career began in the world of illustration, where the artist was frequently required to illustrate sporting events, including the Olympics. After a decade in illustration, he wanted to pursue another medium and his fascination with human body brought him to sculpture.
In 1983, MacDonald officially retired as an illustrator and immersed himself into a three-dimensional creative universe. His talent helped accelerate his career as a sculptor, as the artist quickly rose to international prominence. Celebrated for its dynamism, refinement and superb quality, sculptures by Richard MacDonald were greatly sought after, while numerous prestigious commissions followed. Simultaneously, he never ceased to explore the stunning physicality and aesthetics of the human body, regularly working with live models in his studio.
Ballet was hardly a novel subject in art and Richard MacDonald does follow the footsteps of Degas and even Rodin. Still, the works of the contemporary sculptor are different, meticulously made and anatomically correct to the slightest detail, testifying to the artist’s unparalleled perfectionism. Still, they are not a literal translation of a dancer’s body, but a true artistic portrayal of an paradigmatic character or a scene, imbued with personal traits and a vast emotive spectrum radiating from every inch of the piece. MacDonald's statues are idealized images of harmony, with masterly balanced compositions, depicted the impossible postures and appearing to barely touch the ground.
As a renowned artist, Richard MacDonald worked with some of the most prominent dancers and performers in the world, notably with members of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, American Ballet Theatre, The Royal Ballet, and most recently - Cirque du Soleil. A devout philanthropist, he was honored and awarded by great international organizations, including the United States Olympic Committee.
In the manner and with the commitment of the greatest sculptors from the history of art, Richard MacDonald continues to create sculptures impregnated with passion and energy, celebrating the supreme qualities of both the spiritual and the material body. His works are admired by connoisseurs and aficionados alike, as some of the most coveted collectibles in the world of contemporary sculpture.
Richard MacDonald was born in Pasadena, California in 1946. He keeps a studio in Monterey, California, where he is based.