Sculpture - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Sculpture

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The Courtauld Gallery’s sculpture collections range from Antiquity to the 20th century. Among the most moving sculptural works of art in the collection are the Gothic and later ivory carvings depicting religious subjects. Most of the ivories in the collection are devotional objects like diptychs used to support contemplation on themes in the New Testament, but there are also a few non-religious luxury items such as carved boxes beautifully decorated with scenes of courtly love. The popularity of specific Virgin and Child compositions during the Renaissance is seen in a small group of marble and terracotta bas-reliefs made in and around Florence in the 15th and 16th centuries. The highlight of the sculpture holdings of the 18th century is a pair of famous plaster casts made for the newly established Royal Academy in the late 18th century. They are known as the Furietti Centaurs and are displayed in the entrance to the Courtauld Institute of Art. The 19th century collections include Paul Gauguin’s marble portrait bust of his wife Mette – one of only two known marble sculptures by the artist – and two bronzes showing Edgar Degas’s much loved ballet dancers. These three works are prominently displayed in the Gallery amongst the artists’ paintings. The collection continues into the 20th century, with works by important sculptors of the British School such as Frank Dobson, Barbara Hepworth, Anthony Caro and Philip King. The Gallery also cares for a small collection of African and Oceanic wood carvings and sculpture acquired by the Bloomsbury Group art critic and artist, Roger Fry, whose writings on non-Western, and especially African, art, were highly influential in Britain.

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