19th Century French or Italian Wood Mannequin, circa 1850 For Sale
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19th Century French or Italian Wood Mannequin, circa 1850

About

Workshop mannequin wood, graven and carved Italy or France, mid-19th century. Measures: H 24.40 in x 6.69 in x 3.14 in H 62 cm x 17 cm x 8 cm State of conservation: excellent The mannequin is sculpted in a very realistic manner, with the musculature of the well-modelled torso and harmoniously shaped limbs; the feet, with partially articulated fingers, are accurately rendered. The hands are finished and the nails outlined; the face is posed with a lightly sketched-in smile. The wood surface is soft and "in patina". The verb "mannequiner" (from which the English word “mannequin” comes) appeared for the first time in 18th century France and is used to describe the act of skilfully draping cloth over a mannequin with a natural effect (MUNRO, J., Silent Partners: Artist and Mannequin from Function to Fetish, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, October 14, 2014 - January 25, 2015, exhibition catalogue, p. 28). “... The articulated human figure made of wax or wood was a common tool in artistic practice in Europe from the 16th century. Its indefatigable limbs and silent compliance enabled the artist to study anatomical proportion, fix a pose at will and perfect the depiction of drapery and clothing. In the course of the 19th century, however, the mannequin (or “lay figure” in English) gradually emerged from the studio to become a subject in its own right, at first humorously, then in more troubling ways, playing on the unnerving psychological presence of a figure that was realistic, yet unreal, lifelike, yet lifeless. Despite the plethora of human effigies and avatars, both virtual and real, that inhabit our 21st century existence, the mannequin continues to fascinate and disturb, an empty vessel for our fears and fantasies ... ” (MUNRO, Jane, op. cit., introduction to the exhibition catalogue). “As a tool in the artist’s arsenal, however, mannequins were hidden from view and rarely, if ever, included in representations of the artist’s studio – their presence hinting at the laborious act of painting and diminishing the perception of the artist as inspired genius …” (MUNRO, Jane, op. cit., p. 2).

Details

  • Of the Period
  • Place of Origin
  • Date of Manufacture
    circa 1850
  • Wear
    Minor fading.
  • Dimensions
    H 24.41 in. x W 6.7 in. x D 3.15 in.H 62 cm x W 17 cm x D 8 cm
  • Seller Location
    Milano, IT
  • Reference Number
    LU4352214037802
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About the Seller

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1stdibs seller since 2018
Located in Milano, IT
Associations:
International Confederation of Art and Antique Dealers' Associations
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