2 Enduring Understanding Students will understand that…how abstract art brought about new energies and dimensions in artistic creation.
3 Essential Questions Overarching How has abstraction affected our way of viewing art?What can abstraction achieve that realistic art cannot?TopicalWhat is the essence of life?How does one express the essence of life?Leading questions:Everyday lives: Waking and sleeping life?How would our minds create reality?
5 Bio-Data 1976: Born in Hobia, Romania. 1884: Entered School of Arts and Crafts in Craiova.1903: Went to Paris.1907: Spent one month as an apprentice to Rodin.1909: Saw Matisse and Apollinaire’s works.Inspired by tribal masks and sculptures.1910: First version of Maiastra.1926: Bird in Space1937: Went to India.1952: Became a French citizen.
6 When (1876- 1957) 1905: The emergence of Fauvism. 1906: Retrospective exhibition of Gauguin’s work.1914: World War I1939: World War II started in Europe.1947: The Communists took over and remained under the control of USSR.
7 Where (1876-1957 specific to place) RomaniaRomania declared neutrality during WW1 but was subsequently pressured to join the allies.Romania was drawn into the Axis Power(Germany, Italy and Japan), failing to stay neutral this time round.She changed sides later and joined The Allies.
8 Where (1876-1957 specific to place) ParisThe center of arts in Europe.Emergence of various art movements.Eg:- The Impressionists, Post-Impressionists and the Fauvists.
9 Which Abstraction Brancusi was the first of the modern sculptors. Image which departs from representational accuracy.The abstraction is carried out to a variable range of degrees.In the case of Brancusi, he selects and simplifies the form.
11 Why Background His apprenticeship to Auguste Rodin. The Kiss/Le Baiser by Auguste Rodin ,Pentelican Marble, 18.2 x 12.1 x 15.3 cmBequest of Florene M. SchoenbornThe Kiss by Brancusi 1908.Wood, wax and metal
12 Why Background He was a complex and rather mysterious man. His interests ranged from Science to Music.He had an intense love for craftsmanship - a talented handyman who made his furniture and utensils.He grew up in a village well-known for its folk-crafts and ornate wood-carvings.His other influences- African and Oriental art.
13 WhyBrancusi rejected Rodin’s 19th-century emphasis on theatricality and accumulation of detail in favour of radical simplification and abbreviation.He suppressed all decoration and explicit narrative referents in an effort to create pure and resonant forms.His goal was to capture the essence of his subjects, which included birds in flight, fish, penguins, and a kissing couple and render them visible with minimal formal means.
14 WhyPhilosophyTo differentiate the essential from the ephemeral (the transience and short-living).His values taken from the writings of Plato (Greek), Lao Tze (Chinese) and Jetsun Milarepa (Tibetan).He was an idealist, almost ascetic in his approach to life.His workshop reeked with spiritual atmosphere.In contradiction, during the 1910s and 1920s, he turned to pleasure seeking and merry-making within his Bohemian circle.
15 How Direct carving instead of casting. Carving- the sculptor works directly on the medium, eg: stone.Casting- the sculptor uses clay or plaster as a mould for the medium.From 1908 onwards, Brancusi worked primarily via carving, unlike his contemporaries who casted.He would simplify his forms into geometric or sparse objects.Providing bases for his sculptures is important.Define representational- that represents something we can recognize.
16 HowThe art of Brancusi encompassed the nature of materials in all its manifestations.He finished his bronzes and marbles to a degree of perfection rarely seen in the history of sculpture.At the same time, he placed these polished shapes on roughly carved stone pedestals, or on bases hacked out of tree trunks, in order to attain a mystical fusion of disembodied light-reflecting surfaces and solid, earthbound mass.Define representational- that represents something we can recognize.
17 2 Styles:(1) Carved and modelled exquisitely refined forms:- Embodiments of absolute perfection.- Confront viewer with their physically- provocative and magnetic presences.- Meditative(2) A series of rough, tough sculptures:- Carved from old pieces of wood.- Influenced by African carvings.- Powerful & Dramatic
18 How His Materials:- Brass Bronze Marble Metal Stone Wood Define representational- that represents something we can recognize.
19 The Prayer The Prayer, 1907 Bronze on wood This sculpture is his first step toabstraction.
20 His Kisses… The Kiss, 1908 Alvastone with Aged Stone Finish Later in 1907 Brancusi produced the first version of The Kiss, a subject to which he returned as late as 1945, one of his first direct carvings and one which marked a dramatic change in his aesthetic in favour of a powerful reduction to simplified block-like form, the two figures seeming to merge into one entity.The Kiss, 1908Alvastone with Aged Stone FinishPhiladelphia Museum of Art
21 Philadelphia Museum of Art His Kisses…Years of maturity, c 1907–34(i) Direct carvings and bronzesThe Kiss, 1912Limestone, 58.4 x 33.7 x 25.4 cmPhiladelphia Museum of Art
22 Head of Sleeping Child, 1908 Pompidou, Paris His Ovoids…Years of maturity, c 1907–34(i) Direct carvings and bronzesHead of Sleeping Child, 1908 Pompidou, Paris
23 Museum of Modern Art, New York Years of maturity, c 1907–34(i) Direct carvings and bronzesThe Newborn, 1920Bronze, 14.6 x 21 x 14.6 cmMuseum of Modern Art, New York
24 Philadelphia Museum of Art. Years of maturity, c 1907–34(i) Direct carvings and bronzesThe Newborn, 1915.Marble, 8.5 x 6 inchesPhiladelphia Museum of Art.
25 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York His Muses…Years of maturity, c 1907–34(i) Direct carvings and bronzesSleeping Muse, 1910, BronzeMetropolitan Museum of Art, New York
26 His Muses… Years of maturity, c 1907–34 (i) Direct carvings and bronzesSleeping Muse,Hirschhorn Museum
27 Muse (La Muse), 1912. White marble, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum His Muses…Years of maturity, c 1907–34(i) Direct carvings and bronzesMuse (La Muse), White marble,17 3/4 x 9 x 6 3/4 inches.Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
28 Years of maturity, c 1907–34(i) Direct carvings and bronzesPrincess X,Polished bronze, limestone block61.7 x 40.5 x 22.2 cmThe Louise and WalterArensberg CollectionThis phallic sculpture caused a stir at the Salon (Société des Artistes Indépendants) and was removed from the exhibition in 1920.
29 Years of maturity, c 1907–34(ii) Works in woodThe Sorceress,Walnut on limestone base,44 7/8 x 19 x 25 1/4 inchesSolomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
30 Years of maturity, c 1907–34(ii) Works in woodAdam and Eve, Adam and Eve executed separately ca Chestnut (Adam) and oak (Eve), on limestone base, 94 x 18 3/4 x 18 1/4 inches overall. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
31 Years of maturity, c 1907–34(ii) Works in woodSocratesOak (111 x 28.8 x 36.8 cm), on oak footing (18.8 x 24.6 x 27 cm), overall 130 cm high. Limestone cylinder, 30.2 cm high.Peggy Guggenheim Collection
32 Years of maturity, c 1907–34(ii) Works in woodThe Cock, Cherry, 121 x 46.3 x 14.6 cm,Peggy Guggenheim Collection
33 Bird Series…Years of maturity, c 1907–34(i) Direct carvings and bronzesMaiastra,Polished brass, height 73.1 cm, including base.Guggenheim Museum, New York
34 Bird Series… Years of maturity, c 1907–34 (i) Direct carvings and bronzesBird Series…Maiastra,White marble (55.9 cm) high, on three-part limestone pedestal (177.8 cm) high, of which the middle section is Double Caryatid, c.1908Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
35 What- MaiastraIn Romanian folklore, the Maiastra is a beautiful bird, golden in colour.It has powers that can predict the future and cure the blind.His “Bird in Space” series are based on the Maiastra
36 Bird Series.. Bird in Space, 1923. Marble, 144.1 x 16.5 cm Years of maturity, c 1907–34(i) Direct carvings and bronzesBird in Space, 1923.Marble, x 16.5 cmBequest of Florene M.Schoenborn
37 Bird Series… Years of maturity, c 1907–34 (i) Direct carvings and bronzesBird in Space (L’Oiseau dans l’espace),Polished brass, Height, including base: 151 cmGuggenheim Museum, New York
38 Marble, metal and stone, 76.2 x 50.8 x 50.8 cm. Years of maturity, c 1907–34(i) Direct carvings and bronzesBeginning of the World, 1920Marble, metal and stone, 76.2 x 50.8 x 50.8 cm.Dallas Museum of Art, Texas
39 (i) Direct carvings and bronzes Years of maturity, c 1907–34(i) Direct carvings and bronzesLess an image of a fish than an embodiment of the idea of one, Fish conjures the animal's liquid course by simplifying details like fin and scale, tail and head, into smooth streamline. ("Simplicity," Brancusi believed, "is not an end in art, but we usually arrive at simplicity as we approach the true sense of things.") The material too contributes: a blue-gray marble veined with flecks of flowing white, its surface intimates both movement through water and moving water itself.Brancusi was fascinated by animals, and believed in the primacy of animal consciousness. In reducing animals to elemental shapes, he felt he was approaching the essence of nature. Also, like a number of European artists of his period, he was excited by art from outside the classical tradition so influential in Western aesthetics. The art of Africa, Native America, and the Pacific, and also the art of prehistory (including Cycladic sculpture, a particular influence on Brancusi), took imaginative liberties with human and animal bodies, alternately exaggerating, attenuating, and eliminating their features. These examples liberated Brancusi and others in their treatment of form. By the time he made Fish, in fact, Brancusi seems almost to have left form behind altogether, for something more incorporeal: what he described as the fish's "speed, its floating, flashing body seen through the water the flash of its spirit."Fish, Blue-gray marble (53.3 x x 14 cm), on three-part pedestal of one marble (13 cm) high, and two limestone cylinders (33 cm) high and (27.9 cm) high x (81.5 cm) diameter at widest point.
40 Limestone, table, 215cm in diameter Târgu JiuTable of Silence,Limestone, table, 215cm in diameterTârgu Jiu , Romania
41 Târgu Jiu Gate of Kiss, 1937-38. Stone, 514 x 545 cm Târgu Jiu , Romania
42 Târgu Jiu Endless Column, 1937-38. Cast iron, 2933 cm. Târgu Jiu , RomaniaAfter restoration at 2000.
43 Târgu Jiu – Endless Column Detail of module showing disk removed for testing.Detail of restored module ready to be repositioned.Detail of surface damage.
44 Târgu Jiu – Endless Column This sculpture, based on the symbolism of the axis mundi, was made as a tribute to the young Romanians who died in World War I fighting Germany, and is a stylization of the funerary pillars used in Southern Romania.The Endless Column is meters high and composed of 17 rhombus-shaped modules made out of cast iron.The axis mundi (also cosmic axis, world axis, world pillar and center of the world) is a ubiquitous symbol that crosses human cultures. The image expresses a point of connection between sky and earth where the four compass directions meet. At this point travel and correspondence is made between higher and lower realms. Communication from lower realms may ascend to higher ones and blessings from higher realms may descend to lower ones and be disseminated to all. The spot functions as the omphalos (navel), the world's point of beginning.The axis mundi image appears in every region of the world and takes many forms. The image is both feminine (an umbilical providing nourishment) and masculine (a phallus providing insemination into a uterus). It may have the form of a natural object (a mountain, a tree, a vine, a stalk, a column of smoke or fire) or a product of human manufacture (a staff, a tower, a ladder, a staircase, a maypole, a cross, a steeple, a rope, a totem pole, a pillar, a spire). Its proximity to heaven may carry implications that are chiefly religious (pagoda, temple mount, church) or secular (obelisk, minaret, lighthouse, rocket, skyscraper). The image appears in religious and secular contexts. The axis mundi symbol may be found in cultures utilizing shamanic practices or animist belief systems, in major world religions, and in technologically advanced "urban centers"–wherever the impulse exists to link a column with the idea of a center.
45 Târgu Jiu Târgu Jiu is the capital of Gorj County, Oltenia, Romania. Brancusi’s sculptures in Târgu Jiu constitutes of the Table of Silence, the Gate of Kiss and the Endless Column.This ensemble of works is a monument for WWI.It commemorates the courage of Romanian heroes who were sacrificed when fighting off German invasion in 1916.
46 Plan of the monumental ensemble Endless ColumnPlan of the monumental ensembleat Târgu Jiu29.33 metresGate of Kiss1.60 metresTable of SilenceRiver Jiu
47 Târgu Jiu 1. The Table of Silence represents the table the Soldiers joined before facing the enemy. TheChairs represent the time disposed like thoseof sand glasses.2. The Gate of Kiss is the gate to another life.The motifs on the columns represent the eyes.3. The Endless Column is a monolithic spiritualtestament to their heroism, like a stairway toheaven.
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