Description of Carving Process

The first step in the creation of this vast panorama of the Southern army on the face of the mountain is the fashioning of a series of small models about fifteen inches high. There are to be three of these, in accordance with the division of the panorama into three parts, as I have described earlier in the article. When the details of the first small model were complete, and approved, it was enlarged five times into a more perfect detailed model, known as the master model. Finally, the master model will be enlarged sixteen times, into the final design upon the mountain. The actual design of the master model will be transferred to Stone Mountain by a series of mathemathical measurements which will plot the course of every curve. A scale will be set up before the master model, which is about eleven feet high, or one-third larger than the life size of man and horse, and every square inch of the model will be accurately plotted with relation to its distance from the scale; when this design then is transferred to the granite of the mountain each sixteen-inch area will conform in "topography" to the measurements of the master model. the creative work of the sculptor will be done largely on the master model. The larger creation will be mainly a job far carvers, though the sculptor will supervise.

Physical difficulties are, of course, enormous, and in some cases will necessitate departure from strict adherence to faithful detail; we must take such artistic liscnese as the physical conditions require. For instance, it is known to artists who have created military statues that the mounted officer carries his sword or sabre suspended by a strap, it is not fastened to the belt as it is when he is dismounted. Strict adherence to this known fact would require us to cut a narrow piece of granite sixteen feet long to represent the strap--so narrow and fragile that it would probably fall down the side of the mountain of its own unsupported weight.

Therefore, we must fasten the swords to the belts.

In cutting the panorama upon the mountain we shall work from a steel scaffold erected before the face of the mountain. The work of cutting th first group--Davis, Lee, and Jackson--has begun, and construction of the scaffolding has started; as soon as the scaffold is completed the work can progress rapidly, so that these three figures should be finished in about two years.




Previous Page | Title Page | Document Archive | Key Players | Timeline | Mail | Next Page