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What the artist must aim at above all else is this: to produce, by any process whatever, a work which by the life and humanity emanating from it communicates to the beholder…

—— Medardo Rosso

Medardo Rosso (1858 – 1928) was an Italian sculptor. He is considered, like his contemporary and admirer Auguste Rodin, to be an artist working in a post-Impressionist style. Rosso was mixing with the ‘Scapigliatura’, group in Lombardy, from around 1880. From 1882 to 1884, he studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan. Starting in 1881 in Milan, Rosso began producing bronze busts and figures that reflected largely Realist influences. After 1882, possibly due to the discovery of Impressionism, Rosso’s works started to feature sketchy modeling, flattened planes, and gently modulated surfaces.  Rosso never made preparatory drawings for his sculptures, opting instead to work directly with the clay. and he also cast works in plaster, which he would cover in wax. Rosso’s works were considered a kind of sculptural paintings by his contemporaries. Rosso relocated to Paris in 1889, there he met Rodin, Degas, Émile Zola and the collector Rouart. In 1895, Rosso began casting works in unorthodox ways in his own foundry.Rosso also experimented with photography in his studio, and he photographed the works under a variety of lighting conditions, foci, and compositions in order to capture different impressions of these three-dimensional works.  After 1900, Rosso increased his international visibility, travelling throughout Europe and exhibiting in Vienna, Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, Brussels, the Hague, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and London. He made his final original work, Ecce puer (Behold the Child), in London in 1906. During Rosso’s last twenty years back in Italy he continued to experiment by recasting earlier works in new ways. Despite Rosso’s self-professed internationalism, he was forgotten after his death. He was resuscitated in 1963 in a retrospective at MoMA. Recent exhibitions were held at Harvard University Art Museums, Centre for Italian Modern Art, and Pulitzer Arts Foundation.


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Medardo Rosso

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