jueves, 13 de marzo de 2008

Impressionist Sculpture

In sculpture the artists used nature to help them to create a new sort of liveliness. They tried to reflect the impression of the reality and the temporariness of these impressions. The most genius artist of the impressionistic sculpture is Auguste Rodin. His work has an irregular surface on which sunlight causes glittering. These sparkles of sunlight give the sculpture a new kind of liveliness.
This optic effect was not only what Rodin was after. With these methods of sculpture he tried to reflect the growing-process of a sculpture. Like painters build their work out of colour and light spots, he build his sculptures out of clay and bronze. By making the growing-process visible for the people, he also brought the aspect of temporariness into his work.
We can see the very beginnings of Rodin’s attention to energetic poses in his first major work, The Age of Bronze, which initially appears staged and static, but upon closer inspection is instead brimming with vitality and vigor.
Rodin’s commitment to integrating a sense of action in the poses of his figures carried on through the 1880’s, and he eventually revisited and added upon the legacy of his St. John the Baptist Preaching in a work entitled Nude Honoré de Balzac with Folded Arms. Right away, we can see the similarity between the two figures’ postures: the dynamic lower body; the strong, forceful advance of the legs; and the exaggerated forward stride all contribute to an overall impression of spontaneity in both poses. This ‘movement,’ this ‘conquering advance’ that Rodin’s sculpture had impressed upon its viewers was thus the artist’s way of imbuing a powerful impression through a dynamic pose without being as overt as he was in illustrating it previously - ‘suggesting’ rather than boldly indicating.
Rodin would further develop and build upon the impressions made through his figures’ dynamic poses by branching out of true academic subject matter and giving himself the freedom to create even more fluid and dynamic poses for his figures. No longer would Rodin be constrained by classical, academic themes; his ensuing work on Balzac would mark a changed focus for more modern subjects. Ultimately, due to his increasing concentration on the dynamic poses of his figures, Rodin eventually freed himself from the need for a subject altogether. Subsequently, Rodin would concentrate mainly on experimenting with the forceful poses of partial and fragmented figures. Thus, by developing dynamic poses which captured the spontaneous essence of what he wished to portray, as well as liberating his work from the limitations of an academic subject or specific theme, Rodin can not only be seen as an Impressionist, but also as the father of modern sculpture.

Camille Claudel discovered her passion for sculpture when she was very young. She worked under the aegis of Boucher until he departed for Italy in 1883, and was trusted to Auguste Rodin (1840-1917). She soon became not only his assistant but also his muse and lover.
The two artists inspired each other and Camille studied the nude figure thanks to Rodin, a rare opportunity for a woman of that time period. Their passionate and tormented relatioship ended in 1893, while Rodin's work was celebrated and Camille ignored. In an attempt to establish her own reputation, Camille secluded herself to work intensely, but her efforts remained vain; poor, rejected, her work censored, Camille's genius was never fully acknowledged, thus resulting in the decline of her career and mental state. Isolated and paranoid, Camille was committed to an asylum in 1913, at Ville-Evrard, and transferred one year later to an asylum in Montdevergues (near Avignon), where she remained until her death in October 1943.
While Camille destroyed a lot of her work shortly before her transfer to the asylum, the artistic legacy she left proves her genius. Camille reveals a profound understanding of anatomical features, using mainly plaster, marble, bronze and even onyx. Her work shows elegance and mastery, and becomes particularly original at the turn of the 20th century, with the influence of Japanism and Art Nouveau.

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