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 Brancusi Constant



Brancusi Constant


One of the outstanding sculptors of the 20th c, born in Rumania and trained initially as a carpenter and stonemason. He studied sculpture at Bucharest (1898-1902) and in 1904 settled in Paris for life. Here he soon shared the interest, common among Parisian artists, in African and other primitive arts, but the most absorbing influence on him was his native folk art and oriental art. Primarily a carver of wood and stone, he worked towards expressive strength through formal simplification, and The Kiss (1908) is in some ways a sculptural counterpart to Picasso's Demoiselles D'Avigtwn of 1907. But, unlike Picasso, B. always retained in his carvings something of the mystic symbolism of non-European mainstream art. Le Nouveau-Ne (1915) and Le Commencement du monde (1924) are universal symbols of life and fertility — simple but never symmetrical or geometrical. His Lndless Column (1937—8) is a turning point in 20th-c. sculpture: B.'s influence on it is two-told. He brought about a revival of carving and had a craftsmanlike respect for the nature of his materials; his last years were devoted to polishing the surface of earlier works, e.g. Fish (1940s). Secondly, be endowed sculpture with an almost sacred significance: his carvings are objects for contemplation. 'B.'s mission was to make us shape-conscious' (Henry Moore).


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