From time to time, a country, a community or a culture will re-discover its appreciation for the talented working man (or woman). During the Renaissance, important and powerful guilds were formed to enforce high standards amongst its members and to protect the workers and the reputation of the trade. During the Age of Industrialization, newly-formed unions ensured that tradesmen were trained, properly compensated and kept safe. In the early twentieth century—between the wars—there was an artistic movement which sought to present the laborer (and his class) in a dramatic, dynamic, or heroic manner (think of the American Ash Can painters, Soviet poster art, or the muscular human sculpture which embellishes 1930‘s Art Deco architecture). After World War II, the Danish Modern school occasionally used tradespeople as subjects of decorative art.
Since the early and mid-Twentieth Century, more women have found themselves amongst the ranks of laborers and craftsmen. Perhaps we'll see some of them depicted, the next time the world decides to honor and elevate the worker (when, oh when?). The sculpture shown above is by artist Axel Lochner and made in the Bing & Grondahl workshops, Copenhagen.
Click on his photo to learn more.
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