by Kate Ward ’23
The painting had been sitting across from the Greek statue for the past 50 or so years, and she had never grown tired of looking at him. His body was strong but not in the ways women liked now; he was strong like a field hand or someone with a particular knack for swimming. His hair was wavy and, despite being frozen in time, she could’ve sworn it moved from time to time. It was as if he had been chained or was frozen in place and plaster was poured over him and occasionally his movements would break the plaster form. People were drawn to him like moths to a flame, maybe because he’s one of the only statues in a room full of paintings, or maybe because the whole museum was full of paintings and only a handful of statues.
She liked watching how the people “ooh”-ed and “ahh”-ed, and mothers smacking away children’s hands if they got too close to touching his smooth flesh. She was sure he wouldn’t mind if they touched him; he had a kind face, so she was sure he would be okay with a child. The family came to her painting next, the little kid pointing out the lamb that lay beside her, his head in her lap. The kid looked up at his mother and asked if she thought the lamb had a name, the mother shook her head and continued reading the panel of information next to the frame. The lamb did have a name, Kritios, in reference to the Greek sculpture “Kritios Boy.” She named him that when she discovered that the statue was Greek.
She had never heard of Greece or where it was, and she couldn’t pick up much information from the people passing by the frame and the thick coats of paint that smothered her made it difficult to hear. A lot of the time she would only understand if someone was pointing and looking to another for guidance like the child and his mother. She wondered what she could learn if the museum ever took her off the wall and transported her to that far away place. Or maybe she was there and didn’t even know.
The seasons came and went and visitors began to dwindle. She noticed the lights stayed off more than they were on, and the paintings across from her were taken down and packed into wooden crates. She looked down at Boy then back at the statue. She could’ve sworn his expression was more glum than it was normally. She hoped that wherever he was going she could come along and get to gaze at him a little while longer. The day arrived when her frame was lifted from its mounting and her vision was obscured with cloth and layer upon layer of clouded plastic…bubble wrap, she thought she heard someone say. With one last gaze, she saw that her statue was still rooted in place. Clearly there was no intention to move him. She was set inside a nest of shavings and other squiggly objects. Something slid over her, large and heavy, and then she was moving, and she knew she would never see her statue again.