The Modern World During and After the World Wars, C. 1914–1960

European Art After World War II

Who was Brancusi?

Constantin Brancusi (1876–1957), a Romanian sculptor, was one of the most innovative and original modern sculptors of the twentieth century. During his early career he studied under Impressionist sculptor Auguste Rodin, but he soon broke away to being experimenting with extreme simplification and abstraction, and he was inspired by the art of non-Western cultures and traditional craftsmanship. He worked in various media, including bronze, stone, and wood. The Kiss (1913) is a representational sculpture of two figures embracing, but it has been so reduced, it appears block-like, though still full of life. The ovoid form of his Mlle Pogany (1913) is highly polished, resulting in a smooth reflective surface. Brancusi is also known for his series of sensitive sculptures of birds, especially his series Bird in Space (1923), in which the form of a bird has been reduced to a solid, delicate curve. Brancusi’s work achieves a seemingly impossible balance between softness, durability, dynamism, and serenity.


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