Jonathan Cohen

Jonathan Cohen

Posted on 03/18/2016

Photo taken on November 14, 2014


The Nine Muses
John Seward Johnson II
Grounds for Sculpture
Hamilton Township
Mercer County
New Jersey
United States
Carlos Dorrien

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Eight of the Muses – Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton Township, Trenton, New Jersey

Eight of the Muses – Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton Township, Trenton, New Jersey
"The Nine Muses," by sculptor Carlos Dorrien, is a multi-component grouping carved from Vermont granite. This ambitious project was realized over a course of seven years.

Through its title, medium, appearance, and arrangement, "The Nine Muses" is suggestive of ruins and triggers associations with statuary from Egypt, Greece, pre-Columbian sites, and other past civilizations. Granite slabs, cut and pieced together almost in a puzzle formation, form the floor of the installation, further reinforcing the allusion to an ancient temple and cleverly forming a support base without reliance on a pedestal. The standing figures with differing degrees of recognizable feminine characteristics resemble caryatids (support columns in the shape of a woman) found in Greek architecture, while others are more abstract, roughly hewn and less clearly defined. The number of figures holds significance in that there were nine muses in classical mythology, all daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who presided over the arts and sciences. That number, the divine three multiplied by itself, is also symbolic of completion and eternity. Instead of a name, each sculpture has been assigned a symbolic number based on attributes described in the study of numerology.