Staring at art from the Tate's collection and thinking about it

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Venus With a Necklace - Aristide Maillol

Aristide Maillol, Venus With a Necklace, c. 1918-28, bronze, 1753 x 610 x 400 mm, Tate.

Maillol's particular brand of classicism, with its ever-so-slight modernist sheen, reducing to essential forms that bit more than old school classicism was already doing, was hugely influential.  Most Western European cities have a public statue somewhere that looks something like a Maillol.  He gave a tiny flavour of the new for those who would otherwise be threatened by it, on a great big dollop of the old.  But what to make of him now?  Now that the modern has been pretty much absorbed, do we really need him for anything?  I suppose we could enjoy him purely for his calmness.  He's pretty much the anti-Rodin.  But then we've got Brancusi.  Think the boat may have sailed on this one.

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