The history of sculpture is a history of man’s view of man—of his body and
spirit, i.e., of his metaphysical nature. Every culture, from the most
primitive to the most civilized, has held an estimate of man and has wanted to
see the objectified reality of that estimate. Man has been the predominant
subject of sculpture, whether he was judged to be an object of pride or of
shame, a hero or a sinner.
A metaphysical view of man is projected by the manner in which the sculptor
presents the human figure. In the process of shaping clay or wood or stone
into the form of a body, the sculptor reveals his answer to three questions: Is
man a being of free will or is he a helpless puppet of fate?—Is he good or
evil?—Can he achieve happiness or is he doomed to misery?—and then mounts his
answer on a pedestal and puts it in a tomb or in a temple or over the portal of
a church or in a living room in New York City.