Monday, July 16, 2012

Artist of the Month; Aristide Maillol

Maillol is one of the great figurative sculptors of the 1930's. He was French, but his work inspired a great many people, especially in Europe and in the USSR. His body of work isn't all that well known any more, and I doubt he will be remembered in the long run. His legacy seems to run more to civil planning in the 1930's than anything we see today and he is beginning to fade slightly, not least as Auguste Rodin steals so much thunder in the French classical sculpture world. I'm a sucker for figurative sculpture though and haven't forgotten old Maillol. He gets the honour of being artist of the month on this blog!

One of the more interesting aspects of Maillol's life was his relationship to the model he used in the last decade or so of his life. Her name was Dina Vierny and after Maillol's death she opened the Parisian museum which is the custodian of Maillol's legacy. Vierny was Maillol's muse in his final years and became a platonic companion. It is said she saved him from artistic despair and I like the thought that it was the model who saved the artist and his art. Too often the models are ignored even as we marvel at their likeness.

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