Constantin Brancusi (1876 – 1957) is one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th century. He is considered one of the founders of all modern sculptures and plastic.
Of Romanian descent, Brancusi was born in a Carpathian village to a peasant family, which he left at a young age to live a tramping life. He studied art in Romania and moved to Paris in the early 1900s.
In 1906 Auguste Rodin recognized the young artist at the Salon d’Automne and invited him to join his studio among some fifty interns.
After a couple of months working under the authoritative hand of the maestro, he chose to walk away, thinking that “nothing grows in the shade of the high trees. »
Afterward, he goes through a critical phase in which he seeks to redefine his artistic work. He steps outside of Rodin’s signature work to uncover the essence of the material he is sculpting. He states, “It is not the external shape that is the real matter, but the nature of these things.“
With this break with academicism, Brancusi set the cornerstone for his own artistic technique: he worked straight on the body without referring back to the model in a systematic way.
Direct sculpting is the true path to figure sculpture and the most difficult for those who fail to walk.
Starting in 1907, Brancusi purifies his sculptures in this way, preserving what is essential. That process of purification will progressively lead him to shapes as flawless as an egg as a face.
Like the Cubists, Brancusi is in search of a different sculptural truth and continues to be aware of the sophistication of African art. However, the reference to a natural and universal, cosmic reality that underlies all of his artwork leads him away from their more theoretical concerns.
The works “La Muse endormie” and “Le Baiser” are the climax of his studies.
From this underlying principle of reality, no one can express anything real by copying the appearance of objects on the outside. The principles he put forward were to open the way for surrealist and radical sculpture and the minimalist trend of the 1960s.