Ralph, the golden boy, child-man who is determined and possessive of integrity, suggests the portraiture of August Renoir with his sunny colors and faces of rosy cheeks with blue, honest eyes. Renoir's Portrait of Eugene Murer, 1877, depicts a young man of golden hair and dark blue eyes who possesses a certain confidence and sanguinity of nature. While Murer, who wears a reddish blond goatee, is older than Ralph, he does exude a youthfulness that seems aligned to that of Ralph.
Another work of art that depicts a young, determined, but vulnerable boy is Michelangelo's sculpture of David. What distinguishes Micelangelo's David from others such as Bernini's marvelous study of David as he prepares to strike Goliath or the other representations of the Jewish shepherd boy as he stands in his moment of triumph is Michelangelo's moment of confrontation.
It is this pose of confrontation which typlifies Ralph. It is an athletic pose, dynamic with the intent of action. The hand and head are carved larger in scale than the rest of the body to demonstrate David's acumen and his power; his eyes in deep concentration as he eyes Goliath. One critic observes,
In that magnificently carved head...in the relation of head to body, he has realized at its finest the specifically Florentine ideals of the harmony of phsical, spiritual, and intellectual beauty.
Michelangelo's depiction is that of the ideal hero, which is what Ralph seems to be at first,
You could see now that he might make a boxer, as far as width and heviness of shoulder went, but there was a mildness about his mouth and eyes that proclaimed no devil....he sat back and looked at the water with bright, excited eyes.
Always, Ralph exhibits a certain athleticism as he easily lifts himself onto rocks or steps over tree limbs. And, he does not back away from confrontations.