Maurice Schmidt

Maurice  Schmidt - Goat Boy

Goat Boy, 1976

Painting oil on linen  
35 x 43.5 in

"At an intersection where four roads meet and often used by melon vendors, there I saw a young boy herding his goats. He was as he appears here; smiling his toothy smile and standing barefoot in the sun. I studied him, his animals, the colors that sunlight makes on skin and hair. His eyes and mine met, and so did the eyes of his goats. A goat has a wonderful stare. Their yellow eyes with their elongated pupils seem almost machine- like like headlights. They size you up without blinking, and of course, their little jaws are always chewing their cud, unwavering in their rotary motion. They are telling me something, "hey stupid, I know something you don't know." They are natural humblers, like surly school children, immune to all human pretensions. No wonder some of the greatest leaders and teachers of mankind were educated by them. Was this really a goatherd I was seeing or an apparition of the young David? When a king goes forth, the gates fly open before him and when he returns, they open to let him in and all the people cheer his passing by. But when the son of a prince opens the gates for his goats in the morning and lets them in again when they return in the evening, no one cheers or even bothers to say, "thank you". Still, an honorable profession is this goat herding. Moses practiced it for forty years. I knew immediately I was going to paint this scene. It did not gestate a long time. When I began painting, it came forth spontaneously. I am always eager to watch goats. I have done paintings of them over the years. I already had a sense of them, their comical movements, so unlike the graceful deer whose body shape they share. I remember before starting this painting that I needed a close up view of the animals. I wanted to incorporate the sense of touch as much as color and the play of light and shadow over their bodies. I can't remember where but I did come across some goats penned in a small trailer, or was it the back of a pickup truck? I did my looking and petting and then began my painting. I needed a close-in feeling because I wanted somehow to place myself and the viewer , in among the goats, in the place of the goat boy himself." excerpt from the book "Maurice Schmidt, A Life in Art"



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