The Rodin of the 21st century

That would be Grzegrorz Gwiazda, whose extraordinary bronze Shamefaced (of 2015) came to me on Pinterest a little while back:


All sorts of details to come, but I’ll start out by juxtaposing #1 to two works by the father of modern realistic sculpture, Auguste Rodin (12 November 1840 – 17 November 1917).

Two remarkable Rodin works. Both with their roots firmly in classical statuary, but transformed in Rodin’s hands.

Rodin’s Contrapposto. A 1911 work entitled, remarkably, Pair of Standing Nude Male Figures Demonstrating the Principles of Contrapposto according to Michelangelo and Phidias:


From the Metropolitan Museum of Art site:

Rodin modeled these clay sketches as demonstrations of contrapposto — a fundamental pose in which the body responds to bearing its weight on a single leg. Each figure stands in a manner typical of works by the famous sculptor after whom it is named. The version after the ancient Phidias captures the calm physical ease characteristic of classical sculpture. The Michelangelo figure, slumped and twisted inward, expresses the psychological intensity resulting from a more contorted Renaissance contrapposto. In 1911 Rodin presented these sketches to the American sculptor and philanthropist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Later, the works belonged to the greatest late twentieth-century collectors of Rodin’s sculpture, Iris and B. Gerald Cantor.

Rodin’s Bronze AgeThe Age of Bronze (L’Age d’airain) (modeled 1876, cast by Alexis Rudier ca. 1906):


From  the Metropolitan Museum site:

Rodin’s breakout sculpture, The Age of Bronze caused a critical scandal for its extreme naturalism and ambiguous subject matter. Fashioned over a period of eighteen months and based on a live model, the sculpture depicts a suspended moment of human awakening, either to suffering or to joy. First exhibited in 1877 in Brussels with the title The Conquered Man (Le Vaincu [literal translation, “The Vanquished”]), it was displayed later the same year in Paris with its current title. Rodin promoted the work’s multiple interpretations, saying, “There are at least four figures in it.”

The Gwiazda figure. Gwiazda’s #1 has the upper-body pose of Rodin’s #3 and the lower-body pose of Rodin’s #2, plus the swathing of the subject’s face in a cloth of shame (while exposing a very modern, realistic, penis rather than a classically small one). The multiplicity of interpretations of the Gwiazda does credit to Rodin.

On Gwiazda. From the website of the Academy of Art, Barcelona:

Grzegorz Gwiazda was born in 1984 in Lidzbark Warmiński (Poland). He studied at the Fine Art schools of Poznań and Warsaw, and later at the Accademia di Belle Arte di Brera in Milan, Italy, thanks to a scholarship. In 2009, he graduated with honours from the Warsaw Academy of Art (ASP), where he studied sculpture with Professor Adam Myjak. In January 2014 he was awarded his doctorate. Since 2009, he has worked as an assistant to Professor Maciej Zychowicz in the Department of Graphics and Sculpture at the Institute of Artistic Education at the Special Education School (IEA ASP) in Warsaw.

…  In 2017, the European Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona organised its first retrospective exhibition entitled “The Rodin of the 21st century”.

Then, from the site of Barcelona’s European Museum of Modern Art:

(#4) From the exhibition; you can catch a glimpse of Gwiazda on the screen

Anthological exhibition on the sculptor Grzegorz Gwiazda at MEAM

The exhibition coincides with the centenary of Auguste Rodin’s death.

Born in Lidzbark Warmiski, Poland, in 1984, Grzegorz Gwiazda is considered, despite his youth, to be one of the best contemporary sculptors, and there are even those who believe that he is on a par with figures like Auguste Rodin, hence the original title that Barcelona’s European Museum of Modern Art (MEAM) gave to this anthological exhibition of his work: Grzegorz Gwiazda The Rodin of the 21st century. The exhibition actually coincides with the centenary of the death of the legendary French sculptor, who passed away in November 1917. The exhibition will open on the last day of the month and will run until 28 January 2018.

This will, in fact, be the first anthological exhibition devoted to the work of Gwiazda. So far he has taken part in collective and solo exhibitions, especially in his native Poland. A number of his sculptures are part of the MEAM collection, where he has also taught courses. His work stands out for his mastery of classical techniques and for the expressive force of the figures he carves, especially his male nudes.

Bonus: the poses of statuary in underwear ads. On this blog.

— in my 4/19/21 posting “Cellblock ephebe with a big package”, about this Cellblock 13 underwear ad:


[which] reproduces poses of head and body from classical Greek sculpture, poses that previously appeared on this blog in another Daily Jocks ad, in my 6/20/20 posting “Ephebe with a big package”


— the big package being, in both cases, the model’s genitals, covered but also ostentatiously on display.

… On the head pose: the model is looking downward, to his left. The head pose of the Praxiteles Ephebe of Marathon Marathon Boy.

On the model’s stance: the model is standing with his weight on one foot (in this case his left); note his other, right, knee slightly raised. This is the contrapposto body stance of ancient Greek sculptures and much visual art since. [Michelangelo’s David, Bouguereau’s Birth of Venus]

— in my 5/24/21 posting “The Ecstasy of st. Atlas”, on another Cellblock 13 ad, for a jockstrap and harness:


The model’s stance is a strongly opposed contrapposto posture, with one leg raised, and with hips and shoulders slanted in opposition to one another. The opposite angling of the upper body and the lower body causes the straps of the homowear to form two Ts: a top one (sharply angled down across the model’s chest) with an underarm strap as its cross stroke; and a lower one (slightly angled up across the model’s hips) with the hip strap as its cross stroke)


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