Patriarch of sculpture who carved a kiss in stone

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Constantin Brâncuși, 1907-08, The Kiss.

February 19, On this day


By Edward Steichen - Photograph by Edward Steichen of Brâncuşi's workshop in Voulangis, France; first published in the United States, Public Domain,
Portrait of Brâncuşi

Constantin Brâncuși, often called the ‘patriarch of modern sculpture’, was born on February 19 close to Romania’s Carpathian Mountains, an area known for its rich tradition of folk crafts, particularly woodcarving.

Inevitably, Brâncuși’s influences emerge from Romanian folk art traceable through Byzantine and Dionysian traditions. His art emphasizes clean geometrical lines that balance forms inherent in his materials with symbolic allusions of representation.

By Constantin Brâncuși - Library of Congress, PD-US,
Constantin Brâncuși, 1907-08, The Kiss.

Interestingly, a Brâncuși sculpture that had been one of the top attractions in Paris’s Montparnasse Cemetery was just this week removed from its long-standing home after the court sided with the heirs of the person buried beneath the gravestone on which the Brancusi is set. This followed a legal battle spanning nearly a decade — and the 1909 sculpture titled The Kiss showing two abstracted lovers in an embrace had been in its place for almost a century.