February 19, 2011
Constantin Brancusi's 135th Birthday
My high school art history teacher had always sung the praises of Romanian sculptor Constantin Brâncuși, but seeing his work in textbooks couldn't compare to recently viewing the Sleeping Muse in person at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It's a piece that commands attention, as it seems to defy gravity with its elegance and poise. Brâncuși's use of bronze imbues his art with a silent, intense energy, as the viewer sees the room - and themselves - reflected and fractured in the surface of the work. And when he turns to marble, it gives his sculptures even more of a quiet dignity, always with powerful undertones of potential movement.
It was an honor to have had the opportunity to celebrate Brâncuși, whose work I've admired for so long. Brâncuși was born in 1876 and spent much of his life in Paris, where he pioneered his distinctive style of simplifying subjects into their most essential geometric forms. This doodle contains a survey of some of his best-known and most characteristic work, from left to right: Prometheus, Leda, The Newborn, Sleeping Muse, Mademoiselle Pogany, Bird in Space, and The Kiss.
Other works for which he is well-known include an ensemble of sculptures in Targu-Jiu, a Romanian city close to his hometown. Of these, the Column of the Infinite, a 98-feet-high cast-iron column, is perhaps one of his most iconic pieces. Fans of Brâncuși can visit the Atelier Brâncuși in Paris, a reconstruction of his workshop that's overflowing with pieces, tools, sketches, and studies.
posted by Sophia Foster-Dimino