Arion Lyre

96. Stone from Delphi, by Seamus Heaney, with watercolor drawings by Wendy Artin

Stone from Delphi, poems with classical references by Seamus Heaney, selected and with an introduction by Helen Vendler, with sixteen watercolor drawings by Wendy Artin, November 2012.


Wendy ArtinWendy Artin is an American artist who has made the classical world, in particular the architecture and statuary of her adopted city of Rome, the subject of a remarkable body of work. Skilled in drawing the figure, Artin says, “The statues of Antiquity are my favorite models.” Eric Fischl, who observed her drawing from live models, recounts, “I was unable to take my eyes off watching her work. I’d never seen anyone capture, with such fluid grace and comfort, the depth of observation of the human form the way she was able to do so quickly and so accurately in water-color.” In the words of American Academy in Rome president Adele Chatfield-Taylor, “she is a classically trained painter, but her work comes across as absolutely contemporary. Although her subject is Rome, a city thousands of years old, Wendy’s work is not a throwback.” 

Born in Boston, Artin received a B.A. degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984 and an M.F.A. degree from the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 1990, with additional studies at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, from 1982 to 1985. Throughout the 1980s, she traveled and drew in museums throughout Europe and Central America. Since 1993, she has had one-person exhibitions in Paris, New York, Boston, Milan, and Rome. In 2011 she exhibited a tour de force series of drawings of the Elgin Marbles at Gurari Collections, Boston, which published a catalogue, The Parthenon Friezes. She is currently an Art Advisor at the American Academy in Rome and began the drawings for Stone From Delphi in her studio there. She lives in Rome with her Italian husband Bruno Boschin, a bookseller, and their two children.
In finding the right artist for this new  Seamus Heaney volume, the Press is indebted to the painter Eric Fischl for recommending an American artist he had met in Rome, the virtuoso watercolorist Wendy Artin. In May of 2012, Andrew Hoyem and Diana Ketcham visited Artin in Rome. During meetings at her home and at her studio at the American Academy, they explored the techniques she might use for this book. 

Wendy Artin watercolors for Stones from Delphi

Artin’s watercolor drawings, done especially for this book, were made from Greek and Roman statues whose subjects appear in Heaney’s writings in this volume, for example: the dancing Menade 404-405 ad, in the Campidoglio, Rome; Actaeon, 1st Century ad, from the National Museum in Naples, and Aphrodite rising from her bath, 460 ad, in the Palazzo Altemps, Rome. The drawings are reproduced in the edition at same size.

There are sixteen illustrations in all. The subjects are Hercules and Antaeus, Omphalos, Hermes, Coventina, Aeneas and Anchises, Charon, Eurydice and Orpheus, Maenad, Mycenae Lion Gate, Temple of Asclepius, Hercules and Athena, Aphrodite, Jupiter, Venus, Orpheus and Lyre, and Actaeon. 

The original watercolor drawings by Wendy Artin may be viewed in our gallery of images. Contact the artist about availability.

Back to Stone from Delphi

In November 2013, Stone from Delphi is on view and for sale in Boston, Nov. 1 though Dec. 1, with an appearance by artist Wendy Artin on Nov. 1, at the Gurari Collections, and in NYC Nov. 6 – 10 at the Park Avenue Armory IFPDA Print Fair.