Sunday, August 9, 2009

Aphrodite Gets Around

Watching a documentary in which Rosamund Bernier talks about "The Matisse I Knew" and then "The Matisse Nobody Knew" I caught a glimpse of a 1919 Matisse painting that includes a familiar torso!

In hunting it down on-line last night, I found that the Matisse painting lives in Sao Paulo now. I also found this Chirico, called "The Uncertainty of the Poet" (Tate, London).

According to the Tate website: "The identity of the classical sculpture depicted in 'The Uncertainty of the Poet' has not been firmly established. It appears to be an Aphrodite-type cast which had its origins in the practices of nineteenth century academic art rather than in any Greek or Roman prototype.... Roland Penrose (1900-84), an English artist and critic who lived in France in the late 1920s and early 1930s ... purchased a similar plaster cast in 1935. He brought it home to England and used it in his construction 'The Last Voyage of Captain Cook', 1938.... In conversation with Richard Francis of the Tate Gallery in 1984 Penrose said of this cast, 'it was well known in Paris. It was on sale in lots of shops round Montparnasse. Always that size'. Freely available in Paris, this cast featured in works by other artists. It appears in a painting by Henri Matisse, 'Plaster Torso and Bouquet', 1919 (Museu de Arte de São Paulo). Max Ernst [also] transformed the front and back views of the cast."

The Tate also has Penrose's sculpture, "The Last Voyage of Captain Cook."

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