Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sculpture of the Day: A Bust in Classical Style by Joseph Gott, 1830-1840

Bust of an Unknown Man
Joseph Gott, 1830-1840
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Well-regarded sculptor Joseph Gott (1786-1860) served his apprenticeship under John Flaxman between 1798 and 1802. By 1819, he had won a gold medal at the Royal Academy for a marble group of "Jacob Wrestling with an Angel."  According to the V&A, "He exhibited at the British Institution in 1821 and 1822, and at the Royal Academy between 1820 and 1848. In 1822 he moved to Rome, where he stayed for the rest of his life, though he returned to Britain regularly to meet his patrons and gain commissions."

Gott preferred the Roman style over the austere neo-Greek style which seemed too scientific to him.  Gott's work was idealized, but unheroic, relying on the pastoral and romantic.  This bust of an unknown man, for example, shows Gott's appreciation for creating soft, sensual portraits.  While others during this era were striving to create heroic monuments, Gott preferred to let a the natural beauty of both subject and material endure for all time.  

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