Lorenzo Bartolini, reality and prayer

Lorenzo Bartolini – the author of this wonderful marble sculpture, “Trust in God” – was convinced that, “all of nature is beautiful, and anyone who is able to copy nature know everything an artist needs to know.”

The Tuscan sculptor (1777-1850) developed a strong dislike for what he called “the prejudice of idealism” – both inside and outside of art – especially after the decline of Napoleon’s Empire.

Once he returned to Florence – after a few years at the Bonaparte family’s court, in France, and then in Carrara, where he sculpted a huge statue of the Corsican emperor –, Bartolini’s critique of academic classicism became harsher. He spurred the students of the Fine Arts Academy to seek beauty in nature rather than in antique art – because “nature is worth more”. To emulate nature, even in its distortions, was to him “art’s purpose and challenge”.

Bartolini finished “Trust in God” in 1835. His masterpiece, currently at Milan’s Poldi Pezzoli Museum, was inspired by a tired model, who struck and moved him when she fell into this natural posture, releasing tension and resting quietly, looking up as if to implore the heavens to give her strength.

She offered a hint of beauty that Bartolini was able to capture from reality, and immortalize in the most sublime way.

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Lorenzo Bartolini, reality and prayer

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