Constantin Brancusi

Eric Shanes, Author
Eric Shanes, Author Abbeville Press $22.5 (128p) ISBN 978-0-89659-929-1
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
Shanes, a British painter and art historian, here reconciles the ``formal simplicity'' of Brancusi's (1876-1957) sculpture with its ``richness of meaning.'' He treats the works thematically, dividing them into categories, following their chronological development and illustrating his analysis with his own photographs of the sculptures. A chapter about ``The Natural World,'' for example, deals with the celebrated Bird in Space and Fish series. Although Brancusi's oeuvre lends itself well to this compartmentalized approach, the result is slightly fragmented. The last chapter fails to synthesize previous discussions, instead proffering generalities (``Brancusi elevated the idealism of Renaissance art to a new plane, creating a modern sculptural language in the process''). Some of the more challenging modernist issues operating in Brancusi's art--the polarities of real and ideal and abstraction vs. representation--are raised but not resolved. A chapter consisting of the artist's statements on art and a section about his techniques, however, round out the book nicely. (July)
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!