Artwork of the month February

Medardo Rosso, Bambino ebreo, 1892, Hilti Art Foundation

Medardo Rosso

* 1858 in Turin, † 1928 in Milan, Italy

Bambino ebreo, 1892

Wax on plaster

22 x 14.6 x 16.5 cm
Hilti Art Foundation

Representations of children feature prominently in the œuvre of Medardo Rosso—from the nursing infant to girls and boys whose young lives still embody all the potential of growth and development. The artist was not only a keen observer of children and young people. As a rule he would direct his attention to the head of his subject, concentrating above all on the eeting moment of his rst impression and the visual surprise that comes directly prior to the intellectual impulse of seeking recognition.

Rosso, described by contemporary art critics as a genuine Impressionist of sculpture, experienced the eeting moment of the rst impression as a painter would, inasmuch as the salient perception of the subject captured in the work precludes looking at it from several angles. This was a radical departure from an idea that has prevailed since the 16th century, namely that sculpture should be equally beautiful from all sides. Bambino ebreo (Jewish Child) is no exception to Rosso's rule, for it is not to be viewed from all sides. The left side and the back of the head are 'un nished'. The artist's own photograph of the work shows only the right side of the face.

Rosso had some 50 copies made of this work; it meant a great deal to him and he often gave it away as a present, executed in wax on a stabilized plaster core or in bronze. The child's face features the same physiognomy, but each is different in the way it has been cast, in the use and effects of different materials, as well as the colouring, so that they are ultimately each unique. Whether the sculpture pictures Oscar Ruben Rothschild, born in 1888, whose family Rosso knew and mentioned in a letter, can only be surmised. The child clearly shows individual, almost melancholy characteristics, sensitively rendered in the soft wax with a profound appreciation of the subject's tender age. Medardo Rosso created this particular head in Paris where he had been living since 1889.

Uwe Wieczorek

<b>Medardo Rosso, Bambino ebreo, 1892, Hilti Art Foundation</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.