One of the most influential sculptors of the 20th century, Constantin Brâncuși, was born on this day, February 19, 1876, in Romania. He died in Paris in 1957.
On of Brâncuși’s most famous public art projects is the sculptural ensemble at Târgu Jiu, where he spent much of his childhood. Finished in 1938, it is an homage to the Romanian heroes of World War I. The ensemble comprises three sculptures: the Table of Silence, the Gate of the Kiss and the The Infinity Column, on an axis 4,250 feet (1,300 m) long, oriented west to east. The Ensemble is considered to be one of the great works of 20th century outdoor sculpture.
About the Artist
Called the patriarch of modern sculpture, Constantin Brâncuși developed his career in France. Formal studies took him first to Bucharest, then to Munich, then to Paris from 1905 to 1907. Brâncuși sought inspiration in non-European cultures, but other influences emerge from Romanian folk art traceable through Byzantine and Dionysian traditions.
The style of Brâncuși is one that “was largely fueled by myths, folklore, and primitive culture,” this combined with the modern materials and tools Brâncuși used to sculpt, “formed a unique contrast…resulting in a distinctive kind of modernity and timelessness.”
Des Moines, Iowa is fortunate to have Brâncuși’s dazzling 1912 sculpture Maiastra — a magic bird from Russian folklore that embodies a theme that fascinated the artist for more than three-decades.