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Class 6 2/2/2016

EARLY MODERN SCULPTURE (Chap. 5)


 Auguste Rodin
 Constantin Brancusi
 Camille Claudel
 Jacob Epstein
1860s-1914
Since the 17th cent, academic sculpture students copied plaster casts for years before
advancing to drawing from real life and modeling in clay
Greek, Roman, Renaissance
From a big statue to draw it
Stylistic variation
Jean Baptiste Carpeaux was known for life-like figures
The Dance, 1867-68, L’ Opera, Paris
Dancing nymphs; more people to appreciate his sculptures
Ask people off the streets for their face and paid for models for their poses
Used lived models realistically-animated, real life poses
Auguste Rodin
 Born into the working class. Too poor to study sculpture at the Ecole des Beaux
Arts (or didn’t’ pass the entrance exam)- instead attended the decorative arts
division and studied under Carpeaux
Unconventional from the start
Rodin. Man with a Broken Nose. 1864, bronze
Introduce the ugly in sculptures
So odd too; no one knows whose body it belonged to
Subject: a beggar in his neighborhood or a possible self-portrait?
Trained as a decorative sculptor
Gift for modeling
Realism, as defined by Courbet, had never been attempted in sculpture until Rodin came
along
After a trip to Italy Rodin did this, his most conservative work-he would not repeat it
Allegorical: represents “youth”
Salon critics accused him of casting it from life; so realistic
His model, August Neyt was proof
Never did something this traditional again
Most talked about work at the Academy Salon of 1880 (in plaster)
 St. John the Baptist Preaching, 1878-80, 6’7”, bronze
o Controversy due to the fact a biblical figure was in a very striking pose;
not a traditional figure of looking at the Bible
o Did another piece and took the head off
o No arms or head; just legs to create a walking figure
 Walking Man. 1878, bronze (cast 1907)
o Finished the sculpture, but didn’t give the rest of his body parts
o Taken away the identity; huge anonymous figure
o Power in expression
Evokes the fragmentation of antique sculpture
Identified is denied us, it cannot serve as allegory, it is pure expression
Not beautiful; or not classical in pose or type
Rodin a symbolist?
Is he trying to make human more abstract or feel something else in someway?
Unknown
Studio filled with his fragments; knarly looking hands and different position of body
parts
Commissioned for a planned Decorative Arts Museum
Gates of Hell, 1880-1917, bronze (cast posthumously)
Few saw in the academy that he was their champion
Went through a lot of stages
Still making changes in it during his life
Preliminary stages were created in clay plaster
Great deal of 3D; figures coming in and out
Acknowledges the art nouveau
Rodin’s door is also allegory-the gates of Hell inspired by Dante’s Inferno
Dante’s Inferno for his epic poem, The Divine Comedy, 14th century
Everywhere in France was in love with spooky things at the time
Three Shades, 1881-86
On top of the gates
Beyond the ability of the humans to pose in that form
Extreme agony; distress
Signature of Rodin
Adam, 1880, Bronze
Signature of stretch neck pose
Extreme sense of mind and body
The Thinker, 1880-1902, bronze
Originally called The Poet
Rodin’s thinker thinks, not just with his brain, but also with his body
But Rodin’s critic objected to the fact the figure looked like a common laborer
Believed in workers’ rights
First cast in 1902, friends among artists and writers raised the money for it, and put it in
front of the Pantheon
 People had mixed feelings about it and they raised money to take it down
o Marble version was placed on his graved
Rodin Copies
 20 full-scale casts of The Thinker
 As a result, Rodin challenged the notion of the unique work (singular) of art
 Rodin’s sculpture is all over the world
Many of Rodin’s bronze sculptures were copied in marble; mostly by the best stone
carvers among his studio staff
Rodin, The Kiss, 1889, bronze
Commissioned by the City of Calais to commemorate a story of local heroism during the
medieval period (14th cent) Edward III of England laid siege to the city
Spare the city by killing the 3 men to spare the people
Edward honored there word and agreed
They were separated but someone put them together
City of Calais were not happy because it gave too much realistic emotion and
made them uncomfortable
Rodin planned without a base, as individual figures placed at eye-level, viewers
could walk among them
The Burghers of Calais, 1884-88, bronze
Balzac was commissioned by a literary society in Paris. Honore de Balzac was a
celebrated early 19th cent playwright
 Monument to Balzac. 1892-98, bronze
 Did a lot of research on Balzac who was a pudgy guy
 Symbolism art nouveau
 Was asked constantly where the statue was but he kept throwing away the ideas
once he created them
 Put him in his bathrobe since Balzac worked a lot in it
 Embraced the ugly; commissioner did not like it because it was too grotesque
Rodin mentored many former studio assistants
Emile-Antoine Bourdelle, Hercules the Archer, 1909, bronze
Successful at the academy; boldness in poses
Let the arrow go
Exciting work
Camille Claudel (1864-1943)
Worked for Rodin 1884-1892
Protégée in art
Rodin. Thought (portrait of Camille Claudel), 1886, marble
She worked in a bonnet
Had an affair with him
She did a lot of modeling for him
Camille posed for many figures on the Gates
Claudel’s poses contributed ideas to sculptures and groupings
Camille Claudel, Gossipers, 1897, green marble
Paranoid; people stole her work/ideas by the men or Rodin
Didn’t want to be a hidden mistress
30 years in asylum by her family
Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957)
From Romania; didn’t have much school; had a lot of brothers and sisters
Ran away at age 14 to find his purpose in life after his father died
Studied crafts and cabinet making
Brancusi worked in Rodin’s studio in 1907
Boy, 1907, bronze
Rodin has gotten too popular and he won’t be able to grow in fame or in his art
Closed eyes; human posture idea
Sleeping Muse, 1910-11, marble
Abstract work
Egg shaped portrait; no neck or ears
Transformed
Also recreated in Bronze
The New Born, 1915, marble
Open mouth
Almost could hear the cry of a baby
Brancusi, The Kiss, 1908
Two figures put together to almost appear one eye and one body
Bird in Space, 1925, marble/1928, bronze
Maiastra- mythical bird in Romanian folklore
Pure abstract
Sense of flight
Convey a sense of mind; mirror finish to reflect everything in the room
Adam and Eve, 1916-21, oak, chestnuts and limestone; 7+’ h
Used different genitalia in his work
Eve holding Adam up
In his 2-part sculpture Brancusi uses one “figure” as the base for the other
Brancusi was known for playing with the notion of the sculptural base; either omitting it
altogether or stacking bases and figures on top of each other
Here, the use of the female figure as base for the male creates a commentary on the
notions of gender and sexuality
Endless Column, oak, ca. 1918
Many versions and created over and over again
One was used in Park in Targu Jie in Romania
Jacob Epstein (1880-1959)
American born Jewish sculptor who became a British citizen in 1911
The Rock Drill, 1913-14, bronze (cast posthumously, 1962, Tate Britain
Stretched neck
Gun arm
Done in plaster; drill used in the streets; creature riding it
Violent; robotic, militaristic figure
Has a wielder’s cap as his face
Done in WWI, incorporates knowledge of cubism
Epstein was briefly close t a British group called Vorticists