Family Audio Tour: George Bernard Shaw

Bronze sculpture, 188cm high, of a bearded man wearing a suit, with arms crossed and left slightly raised
Prince Paul Troubetzkoy (1866-1938), George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Author, Playwright and Critic, 1927. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland.Credit

Prince Paul Troubetzkoy (1866-1938), George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), 1927

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Transcript

Ide:
Every time I’m checking the galleries at night, this figure makes me jump! Imagine, it’s half-dark, you’re all alone, and a tall man looms ahead of you. Is he an intruder? Is he an art thief? No, he’s a sculpture!

Eoin:
I guess he does look real – he’s the size of a living person – but there’s one thing missing – colour.

Ide: 
In sculptures, shape is often more important than colour – so the best way to look at it is to walk all around it and see it from different sides. Have a go.

Eoin:
He’s wearing a very smart suit and a shirt and tie – like someone who’s going to work. And he’s a bit bald – so he’s older.

Ide:
And what about the way he’s standing? Try standing in the same pose and see how it feels.

Eoin:
One foot in front; arms folded, one hand up – it’s like he’s thinking deeply and going to say something important. The head’s a l-o-o-ng way up but…  his eyes are focused on something far away, like he’s lost in thought, and his forehead is big and shiny.

Ide:
It’s a big head for a big brain – because this man was a big thinker. He was one of the most important writers Ireland has ever had. His name was George Bernard Shaw, and he wrote plays for the theatre.

Eoin:
But how is a sculpture like this made?  

Ide:
It’s a long process! The sculptor first makes a model out of clay, and once it looks right, he uses it to make a mould.

Eoin:
You mean like a jelly mould? 

Ide:
Yes, but instead of jelly, you pour in metal – bronze. 

Eoin:
But metal is hard!

Ide:
When bronze is heated up to a very high temperature, it turns into liquid. That liquid is then poured into the mould, and once it cools down, it turns solid again - and you have your sculpture!

Eoin:
Wow, amazing! I’d love to have a sculpture made of me!

Ide: 
And you, if a sculpture was made of you, how would you stand? Try standing in that pose.

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