Madonna e Bambino: First Look

I've held off for as long as I can. Below are some recent photos of the madonna and child statue I've been working on. I'm using some very nice plasticine, which is just like regular clay except that it is oil-based rather than water-based. This is fantastic because it doesn't dry! No spray bottle! It stands about 34 cm high, and there is no armature underneath the clay, just a small block of wood.

The design is based on a few mediaeval Madonnas (and forgeries of mediaeval Madonnas) that I found in a book here at the house, and otherwise I just followed my nose. Please feel free to post feedback!


Jef Murray said...


This is fabulous! I only can criticise the face of Mary a bit...seems a bit flat to me, with almost a native American look. But all else seems marvellous!

With plasticin, do you ever cure it? And how? With heat?

WondrousPilgrim said...


It really is amazing. The thing I like most about it is the grace of her form--the way she stands. Very lifelike, and lovely.


Jesuit John said...

I love the way Jesus seems so fascinated with Our Lady.

Maggie Mayer said...

This is beautiful.

Theodore said...

This is wonderful Ben! What what are you going to do about making it permanent?

Ben Hatke said...

Thanks for the comments.

Jef: I've been working slowly, slowly on Mary's face, but since I'm not going off any one model it's hard to tell when it's "finished." Also, I think it does look a liiiitle better in person. This thing doesn't photograph so well.

Does the face look flat to anyone else?

TED: I'm still looking into what to do with this. I'm in touch with a guy at a foundry near Florence that can cast it in bronze for a couple hundred Euro. I'd like to make a few copies, but, of course, it's expensive.

Know anyone who wants a bronze Madonna?

Theodore said...

nkI would say only in the top photo does the face look a little flat.

Can you just make a plaster statue from the plasticine? if so how durable is a plaster?

Ben Hatke said...

Hey Ted.

I'm pretty set on the Bronze Copies. I have a bit of a prejudice against plaster statues. Once they chip they start down a long road to looking junky. My experience is that plaster

a) doesn't look even decent unless it is painted

and b) chips and breaks very easily -especially in a house with small hands.

So I am going to call and chat with the foundry guy in a couple days and get a definite price and then have a limited number of bronze copies made. I will let you know what I find out!

Sarah said...

That is gorgeous! Her face does look a bit flat in the first pic, but not in the others, so I would attribute it to photography. Do you have to make all of the bronze copies at once or can you do one now and more later -- possibly the price of bronze will go down?

Anonymous said...

I want one. I don't care what it costs!

Meredith said...

I believe the word wanted is not "flat," but "classical."

Che bella!

icantori said...


Stumbled onto this site as I was verifying the Feast Day of St. Cecilia.....long story.

Anyway...the statue is beautiful. I love the Medieval feel. Are you going to do them in bronze. I'd be interested. Any interest in doing one of St. Cecilia?