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Video transcript
(lighthearted music) Male Voiceover: So, this is an ancient myth, and it tells of the god of the underworld, the god of death, Pluto, who is taking Proserpina into the underworld to be his wife against her will; sometimes referred to as the rape of Proserpina. Female Voiceover: The thing that gets me, more than anything, is the look on her face. Male Voiceover: A kind of crazed terror. Female Voiceover: You can just feel it. Her mouth, her eyes, her brows pushing together, how hard she's pushing away, how desperate she feels to get away. It's a horrible moment. Male Voiceover: It is. Well, the look on his face I'm reading as, of course, responding directly physically to the pressure of her hand, but also as a kind of power and bemusement. Female Voiceover: I see glee almost, in a terrible way, that makes it so much more terrible, what she's going through; like this, "Ha HA! Look at my trophy, look what I got." Male Voiceover: Absolutely, and she's also quite powerful and beautiful. Look at the way- Female Voiceover: She has no chance. Male Voiceover: Look at the way that his hands press into her thigh. Female Voiceover: You feel his force. Male Voiceover: And you see the elasticity of her flesh, and you forget this is stone. Female Voiceover: You feel him striding forward, you feel him pulling her towards him. Male Voiceovoer: And then, if you can see under her feet, you have the three-headed dog of hell. It is an image of terror and powerlessness and brutishness. Female Voiceover: The other thing that I'm really struck by is the drill holes, and how animated his beard is. Male Voiceover: The depth of the carving, it's Bernini at his best; clearly learning the lessons of Michelangelo. Female Voiceover; I'm really taken, also, with her hair. Male Voiceover: It's alive. Female Voiceover: And it's in mid-air. How long would it have been up in the air like that? Like a split second that he's captured. Male Voiceover: [unintelligible] We talk about contrapposto coming out of the classical tradition. This is a contrapposto that has been multiplied several times because you've got his striding body, his hip pushing forward, her hip against his chest; pressing in, he's pressing out, countering her weight, and she's countering his. It is this entangled contrapposto, creating a unity in a kind of balance, even in the struggle of the two. Female Voiceover: You can almost see that if you look at it as a composition that's almost in the shape of an X. All those balancing forces and counter-forces; it's hard not to just be amazed by the virtuosity of his sculpting. Male Voiceover: It's a virtuosity that counters strength, and power, and force against exquisite delicacy. Female Voiceover: And sensitivity to human emotion. (lighthearted music)