Being from San Antonio and very familiar with Pompeo Coppini’s work, I was thrilled that Galveston was finally giving his great work for Galveston its due. After seeing the work, I’ve come to appreciate Coppini much more.
The artist did a yeoman’s effort but came up far short of the master. This statue lacks the subtle anguish and sorrow of a mother’s love for her children. It’s all id, like the difference between someone throwing themselves on the coffin and someone trying valiantly to control the pain and sorrow.
The children in Coppini’s work are almost abstract. They're like a part of her. One child seems to melt into her dress. It’s that power and subtlety missing in this work.
Coppini’s work is so powerful, so emotional without being overt, the current interpretation is all emotion, there's no subtlety. The artist created his own interpretation and that’s to be applauded.
But all I can feel when I look at this sculpture is what a shame that Galveston was so short sighted in 1904 and rejected Coppini’s seminal masterpiece that’s now lost to the ages and replaced with this lesser interpretation.
I suppose it’s better than nothing.