Exhibition at the museum

Around a Sculpture : The Mediterranean by Maillol

From December 09th, 1986 to March 01st, 1987 -
Musée d'Orsay
Esplanade Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
75007 Paris
Map & itinerary
Aristide Maillol-Méditerranée dit aussi La Pensée
Aristide Maillol
Méditerranée dit aussi La Pensée, entre 1923 et 1927
Musée d'Orsay
© Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt
See the notice of the artwork

Aristide Maillol (1861-1944) was constantly preoccupied by the notion of a perfect architecture. His work was dominated by the geometric construction of the human body.
A painter who became a sculptor, one of the first of his masterpieces was the figure of a squatting woman, painted, drawn, woven and at last sculpted : The Bather or The Wave. This figure xame to dominate his entire work and to haunt all his essays. "I'm trying to gather the limbs, one enters a sculpture in the same way as one enters a house". The squatting woman, amplified, constructed, would give birth to a monumental open-air sculpture, The Nymph, and in many shapes (kept or destroyed) it would finally become The Mediterranean. Rather than true-to-life pieces, Maillol preferred invention. Thus, The Mediterranean became the first sculpture of 20th century modern-art statuary, . With this break from the narrative and descriptive tradition of representation, Maillol characterised a fundamental calling into question of art. He freed sculpture from the notion of subject, to which he substituted the quest for the pure shape. About The Mediterranean, André Gide was to write: "It is beautiful. It signifies nothing. It is a silent artwork".
All the great tendencies of modern sculpture, from cubism to abstraction, found their origin in this silent revolution, which the public discovered with The Mediterranean at the 1905 autumn salon.

The exhibition is now over.

See the whole program