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St. Martin fountain by Carl Milles | by Gösta Knochenhauer
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St. Martin fountain by Carl Milles

The fountain is Carl Milles' last completed work of art. At the request of the city council of Kansas City, the artist made a monument dedicated to a man from the city who had for many years, anonymously, donated money to charity. Carl Milles chose the legend of St Martin as a subject for the fountain. The holy Martin was a saint from the fourth century who was very charitable and gave to the poor. Here he is cutting a corner of his cloak to give the reclining beggar as clothes. This is also an equestrian sculpture, and just like Folke Filbyter, the horse and rider are twisting in different directions, thereby creating a powerful movement.


On either side of the rider there is an angel and a faun.


The angel, a naked boy angel, sits lost in thought in a strange position with one leg under him and the other at an angle to the body. Carl Milles describes in a letter that this angel is scratching a mosquito bite. He wears a watch on his left wrist. A human angel, in other words. He has wings, but he also uses a watch and gets bitten by mosquitoes. Like many of Milles' angels, it belongs both on the earth and in the heavens.


The faun is hiding behind a bush and watching the angel. Fauns can be found in the classical myths and are a mixture between a human and a goat. This one is more animal than man with a hairy lower body, bearded face and horns.


In the myths, the faun belonged to the company of the god of wine Dionysos and all that this entailed with partying and sexual adventures. One assumption, therefore, is that the faun represents the corporeal or the earthbound, while the angel represents the spiritual or heavenly.

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Taken on July 16, 2014