KILLLIN, BEFORE THE BATTLE

Another old postcard from the author's collection of the Killin memorial with its spectacular backdrop.

Early sculptures of David such as Donatello's had traditionally portrayed him after the battle, victorious over the defeated Goliath (often with foot resting on the giant's severed head). Michaelangelo's sculpture has however often been described as a portrayal of the biblical hero 'before the battle' , capturing the moment of decision as the shepherd boy makes his stand and prepares to go into action against the giant Goliath armed only with a simple slingshot. In a similar way the Killin soldier has been portrayed in an attitude of alert readyness, a pose which also lends itself to further elevating the status of the stone itself by echoing its solid mass. The highlander clad in goatskin jerkin, and perhaps a shepherd himself, is prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice just as the men of Killin did.

Carrick studied for two years at the London College of Art under Professor Edouard Lanteri. The Belgian artist's first classes for all new students involved the careful modelling of copies of the lips, eyes, nose and ears of a plaster cast of the head of Michelangelo's David. Carrick was therefore intimately aquainted with Michelangelo's sculpture and might well have kept his copies from Lanteri's classes which would have provided him with ready templates for the Killin Highlander's face. In his textbook 'Modelling and Sculpting the Human Figure' Lanteri wrote 'The best models for the datails of the face I consider to be those taken from the mask of Michel-Angelo's "David".

If Carrick did draw inspiration from Michelangelo's sculpture for his Killin soldier then it is also possible that he saw his bronze sculpture of a highland soldier at Dornoch titled 'After the Battle' as a complementary work. At Dornoch a similar but older more mature soldier who also wears a goatskin jerkin and bonnet is portrayed returned to his lines at the end of the fight and surveying the horizon for his comrades who will never return. Killin and Dornoch show the two extremes of warfare, the idealism of the volunteer and the veteran who knows the true cost of war.

killin mountains

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