Updated: Oct 14, 2020
Myth and symbol in
Constantin Brancusi's Artwork
Constantin Brancusi, one of the greatest sculptors of all time, born in Gorj, Romania appeared in the art world as a special character evoking an image of life that the man of today no longer feels and no longer meditates at. Feeling nature as a teacher but also as a messenger of ours, whose wisdom we can all learn from, he wanted to create equally perfect things according to the pattern of nature, offering goodwill and love in return by his creations.
He had an enormous respect for the impenetrable mystery of existence and he was changing his thoughts and life as he entered the art world through which he managed to be close to everything he felt was pure. He was constantly fighting against everything that man had done wrong, practicing the art of concentration to erase the barrier between spirit and matter.
Being a source of inspiration for generations, Constantin Brancusi is still alive through the work he left behind and continues to be current even after so long.
Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin Brancusi at Targu Jiu, Romania
The Endless Column. The Table of Silence. The Gate of the Kiss.
One of the great works of 20th-century outdoor sculpture
Being passionate all of his life about the essence of flight considering it a limitless happiness Brancusi tried to step into a spiritual dimension by creating the Endless Column.
Also called the column of heaven his work actually extends the mythological theme that has existed since prehistory and quite widespread in the world representing an ‘axis mundi’ which highlights the symbol of ascension being able to send a fragment of the spiritual world that ensures the communication between earth and sky.
The column was even compared to the tree of life and a monument to humanity in honor of the peasant heroes. This funeral sculpture was directly related to death but Brancusi did not present death as a tragic or sad event. On the contrary, it is presented as a necessary component of life and a form of transcendence. The huge staircase to the sky has a symmetry through repetition forming a harmonious and vivid geometry.
In most of his works Brancusi combines the dimensions of traditional art and old Romanian culture but in an unique way the foundations in the vision of contemporary sculpture are based on his ideas. Therefore, The Table of Silence it is not just a sculpture which you can pass by carelessly, because it invites the viewer to sit in one of the places and to become aware of the ephemeral time but also the eternal presence he wanted to immortalize in the 12 hourglasses-chairs as the artist called them. The table is a symbol of silence, speech, death and life. He knew the strength of circular structures and the Table of Silence is based on an idea found in many cultures. For example, the participants of a certain cult stand as in a ritual around the circular surface thus the knights of the round table sat equally to discuss or meditate.
The Gate of the Kiss begins with a biblical meaning and in this work from Targu Jiu he feels an inner voice of the locality becoming a genius and by humanizing the local interpretations in a universal art he honors in the highest degree the community from which it comes and in which he reintegrates himself in. So the two pillars actually represent the vertical banks of the Red Sea opened to be passed by the people of Moses. Brancusi is a pioneer who sculpts thoughts, not figures. Imposing through the purity and simplicity of the forms he gathers in his work the fundamental meanings of the modern artistic thought and he integrates the archaic tradition.
The passion for nature - Longing for mountains and traveling
Growing up at the foot of the Southerns Carpathians in Romania on the valley of the Bistrita river he is attracted to the cult of his homeland and its ancestors but also fascinated by the landforms from his country existing in all of its aspects. Even though there were different countries where he felt at home and had moved permanently from his native country, Brancusi feels the source of the primitive to remain creative only in Romania, knowing that he can heal through his art. Even if he visited the pyramids in Egypt that helped him throughout his life to be inspired in the symbolism of his own work and admires India where he felt he found wisdom and dignity, his character and lifestyle Brancusi remains purely authentic. Also, in his studio in Montparnasse, France where he lived surrounded by his sculptures he kept the Romanian tradition, keeping the theme of universal genesis. His pieces of art are very close to those we find in nature because he knew that “art is reality itself”. Constantin Brancusi remained a Carpathian peasant even though he lived in Paris for half a century.
A moment of stillness in the romanian traditional art
Being a lonely, meditative and mysterious human being, Brancusi thought that you should return to the simplest things being really very hard to go back to these beginnings. He wanted to highlight the popular traditions of a long-forgotten past and his own Romanian legacy helped him. An important symbol of the Romanian tradition and one of the oldest decorative motifs in Romania, is the ascending zig-zag. In the endless column the path that leads to heaven is shown to the souls of the heroes who have died. The young Brancusi was one of the few artists who could understand the village as a spiritual space and not only as a resource of the pittoresque. Even if by leaving home he expresses his intense will for independence, the archaic forms of art from his country followed him abroad. The Romanian character as a state of mind is also acquired by his workshop and he reconstructs in Paris the exact interior design inspired by his hometown from Oltenia. The workshop that looked like his temple where any creation represents an open window from time to eternity feeling a full joy for the process of creation.
Brancusi reaches maturity with his own works
At the beginning he grows, learns and evolves and towards the end he manages to achieve what he wanted from his youth. Going through complex stages to reach the peak of his art, his works become endowed with the deepest and most immortal quality, being the representative image of the Romanian people and of the time in which he lived. Also called the saint of Montparnasse, he rediscovers the inner strength and the physical one but especially an enormous spiritual legacy. He becomes a source of inspiration for those who knew him even through his work, sculptures through which Brancusi felt that he offered pure joy. He believed that his sculptures should be looked at until they were truly seen feeling that those who are closer to God have seen them. The tendency to search for the interior and to search for the depths does not cease to disappear from any of his works because Brancusi believed that “the first duty was to be honest with yourself”, considering that our distance from nature is the source of all our sufferings. Discovering the spirit of matter by carving stone he wanted to pass on a lesson to all those who will discover his art.
Article by @Ramona Popa
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