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Brâncuși: the iconoclast sculptor who redefined ‘realism’

In this video, writer, historian and broadcaster, Dr. Tessa Dunlop introduces us to the extraordinary Romanian sculptor, painter and photographer Constantin Brâncuși.

Brâncuși (1876-1957) considered one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th-century and a pioneer of modernism, made his career in France, after first finishing formal studies in Bucharest, then Munich, and then finally at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

Throughout his entire life, Brâncuși embraced an outsider’s position – from the sandals he wore to the way he styled his hair and the folk music he listened to. Similarly, his artwork broke with the academic tradition, and helped shape the principles of radically reductive and non-representational modernism.

In terms of his style, he radically simplified figurative forms, completing works in bronze, marble, stone and wood, and his elegant geometric volumes reexamine representation, often employing ovoid and elliptical shapes to evoke movement, repose, or spiritual reflection.

“What my work is aiming at is, above all, realism,” he once declared. “I pursue the inner, hidden reality, the very essence of objects in their own intrinsic, fundamental nature; this is my only deep preoccupation.”

Today, Brancusi’s works are held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and the Tate Modern in London, among others.

View the original video here.

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