Sandra McKay - Thank Offering by Benno Schotz

Podcast Transcript

Thank Offering, Benno Schotz

Hello, I'm Sandra McKay, photographer for Museums and Galleries. One of my favourite pieces from our collection is a sculpture entitled the Thank Offering by Benno Schotz. To me the piece depicts the figures of a mother and small child. The mother is holding the infant up on her shoulders as if in gratitude for the existence of this wonderful blessing - a babe in arms. But her expression also seems to convey a sense of relief, which throws up a multitude of questions. It's all too easy to forget in our era of modern medicine, just how fragile childbirth could be. Created in 1939, the sculpture still looks very modern and has a timeless quality to it. The main reason I am drawn to it, is that it epitomises that special bond between mother and child in a very simplistic and straightforward way. This is repeated in the physicality of the piece with the use of pared down shapes. Although Benno Schotz went on to cast the figures in Bronze, I particularly like the red stone material he has used in this version. It adds warmth, almost echoing the emotion shared between the two. The grain of the stone serves to accentuate the smooth curves of the nude figures, adding a soft and comforting quality. The use of stone emphasises the strength of their bond. It's a very tactile piece and I find it a very moving piece, depicting both love and thanks.