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3-D: Focus on the Figure Sculpture Exhibition Opens at the Flint Institute of Arts
Alberto Cambi, Dancing Maiden, marble, 1890, 51 1/2 inches. Gift of Mrs. Frederick B. Miner, by exchange, 2007.131
FLINT, MI.- The exhibition 3-D: Focus on the Figure open from December 18 at the Flint Institute of Arts and continues through January 30, 2011. Artists have been inspired, throughout the history of art, to celebrate the human form using a variety of media. This exhibition explores the evolution of the human figure in sculpture from the late 15th century to the present. The forty objects included in this exhibit were all drawn from the FIA’s permanent collection.

“Many remarkable sculptures collected by the Flint Institute of Arts over the last 80 years are featured in this exhibition that spans five centuries. Focus on the Figure offers the viewer a wholly three-dimensional interpretation of the human figure as subject. Selected works range from an earthenware figure by the 15th century Italian artist Giovanni della Robbia, to bronze sculptures by French artists Edgar Degas and Auguste Rodin through modern and contemporary examples by artists such as Picasso and Duane Hanson. Although the works vary in every conceivable way, commonality lies in the artists’ unique representation of the human form. The exhibition is also a tribute to the taste and generosity of patrons who have gifted their art collections to the museum,” said FIA Director John Henry.

Sculptural depictions of the figure can be traced to ancient times, but by the 15th century, sculpture reached an apotheosis particularly in Italy. Here, sculptors with the help of enlightened patrons, created works that realistically portrayed the individual human being with truth and dignity. This humanistic approach is evidenced in the 16th and 17th century works, Figure of Magdalene by Vincent Nanques of carved olive wood and also in the sandstone angels of Giovanni Buora.

The almost life sized sculpture by19th century artist Alberto Cambi captures the dancing figure of a young girl carved in translucent marble. 20th century French artist Edgar Degas’ diminutive Little School Girl in cast bronze, contrasts with William Zorach’s more statuesque Spirit of the Dance. A porcelain bust by Pablo Picasso and mixed media works by contemporary artists Kehinde Wiley and Mike Smith further demonstrate the variety of materials sculptors use as they seek to discover the seemingly endless possibilities inherent in the human form.

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