This site was created in 2002 to showcase outdoor representational sculpture in New York City. “Forgotten Delights” seemed a fitting title because most of these intriguing sculptures are ignored by the thousands who rush past them every day. The Forgotten Delights site and my related books and essays provide historical and artistic context so you can stop, look, and enjoy these works.
My name is Dianne L. Durante, and I’ve been addicted to art and to history ever since a high-school teacher in Catawissa, Pennsylvania, lent me Janson’s History of Art. It was my first clue that art was more than rock-star posters and garden gnomes, and that history wasn’t just a series of names, dates, and statistics.
Soon afterwards I discovered, from reading Ayn Rand’s fiction and nonfiction works, that art and history, as well as politics, ethics, science, and all fields of human knowledge, are integrated by philosophy. My approach to studying art is based on Rand’s The Romantic Manifesto. (Why? See my Amazon review of the book.) For 30 years and counting, I’ve been an independent scholar and freelance writer on art and history.
For the past decade or so, much of my work has been on outdoor representational sculpture in New York City. I believe that art is emotional fuel, and while these sculptures don't rival Michelangelo's David, many of them are extremely well executed and represent people whose achievements are inspiring.
Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan: A Historical Guide (New York University Press, 2007) focused on the styles and subjects of 54 of the best sculptures in Manhattan, incorporating substantial discussions of what art is and how to analyze and evaluate it. In the New York Times, Sam Roberts called it "a perfect walking-tour accompaniment to help New Yorkers and visitors find, identify and better appreciate statues famous and obscure" (1/28/2007). Sculpture Magazine described it as "a satisfying read... a useful tool to those seeking concise yet wide-ranging information on Manhattan’s many historical public works."
Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan has recently been adapted into Monuments of Manhattan, the first in a series of amazing videoguide apps by Guides Who Know. Each episode includes multiple views of each sculpture plus archival images, maps, and animations. The app was conceived for tourists visiting the sculptures, but it’s self-contained: you can be entertained and inspired anywhere, anytime.
I also write and lecture on art history from ancient through modern times. I'm currently publishing Art History Through Innovators, a survey of 5,000 years of Western sculpture and painting in four hours. The first essay is here. To be kept informed when the essays appear, join the Forgotten Delights mailing list or follow me on Medium (@NYCsculpture).
My ebooks on art history, all profusely illustrated, include:
Generally I don’t discuss nonrepresentational works because I don’t consider them to be art ... but now and then I can't resist a good rant.
I’ve never regretted earning my Ph.D. in Classics (University of Cincinnati), but I’m profoundly relieved that I have not spent my life in the jargon-laden world of academia. Among my favorite non-art gigs: