Georg Minne


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Belgian sculptor, painter, and graphic artist, born at Ghent, the son of an architect. He initially studied architecture at the Ghent Academy, then transferred to painting and sculpture. In 1886 he met the Symbolist poet Maurice Maeterlink and began to illustrate Symbolist books, including Maeterlink's Serres chaudes (1889), in a pseudo-medieval manner. Then, turning his attention increasingly to sculpture, he became one of the most successful artists in expressing Symbolist ideas in bronze and marble. His favourite theme was the kneeling adolescent. As Robert Goldwater (Symbolism, 1979) points out, the posture ‘inhibits movement and implies humility in a pose at once natural and symbolic…the figure remains in dolorous isolation, its body an encumbrance to thought’. Minne's work has links with Expressionism, and it was influential on Expressionist sculptors such as Lehmbruck, who admired Minne's Fountain of the Kneeling Youths (1898–1906), commissioned for the Hagen Museum and now in the Folkwang Museum, Essen. From 1898 Minne lived at Laethem-Saint-Martin, with the exception of the years of the First World War, when he took refuge in Wales. About 1908 he began to turn away from his Symbolist outlook, which no longer seemed viable. Thinking that he had lost touch with nature, he studied anatomy and turned to a more realistic and socially oriented style in the manner of his countryman Constantin Meunier.

Subjects: Art.

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