Flora

MAKER:
Artist

Aristide Maillol ( French, 1861 - 1944 )

DATE:
c. 1911
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General Description

Aristide Maillol began his career as a painter and tapestry designer working in the decorative style of the Nabis, a group of artists inspired by the simplicity of line, flat patterning, and expressive color theory of Paul Gauguin's work in Brittany. By the latter half of the 1890s, however, the intricacy of Maillol's tapestry work was threatening his eyesight, and he turned entirely to sculpture. At the turn of the century, Auguste Rodin's highly naturalistic and emotionally charged work was the dominant force in the revival of sculpture. While undoubtedly inspired to observe nature by Rodin's example, Maillol was primarily concerned with a classical purity of line and form. This emphasis is readily apparent in "Flora," where the figure's graceful pose, emotional tranquility, and clinging, translucent drapery recall ancient statuary. Typical of Maillol's idealized female figures, "Flora" fuses the serenity and monumental presence of the classical tradition with the immediacy and vitality of a naturalistic depiction. "Flora," however, is no mere pastiche of styles and vocabulary. The symbolic significance of "Flora" - an embodiment of the bounty of nature - finds direct expression in the figure's full, rounded torso and sturdy limbs. By balancing real, human characteristics with eternal, idealized forms, Maillol dynamically reinvented the classical tradition with a modern sensibility. Shirley Reece-Hughes, "Aristide Maillol, Flora," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection, ed. Charles Venable (Dallas, TX: Dallas Museum of Art, 1997), 118

Related Multimedia

Collections smARTphone video; Olivier Meslay discusses Flora by Aristide Maillol (DMA collection 1960.70)
Learn about Aristide Maillol (1861 - 1944).