Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Model Venus: La Première Pose by Howard Roberts

La Première Pose (1876)

Yesterday Venus Observations passed 50,000 visitors which is rather good in only just over a year. The progenitor of the site, albeit unwittingly, HMS celebrates a landmark birthday this week (we think!) so to celebrate that as well we will try to post some more Venuses for observation for the next week or so.

Here we have a sculpture we photographed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art earlier in the month. Philadelphia born Howard Roberts (1843-1900) was, like John Venderlyn, one of that generation of American artists who went to Paris to study; enrolling at the Ecole des beaux-arts in 1866 at the age of 23. He returned to Philadelphia and opened his own studio where he produced his first notable sculpture Hester and Pearl (1872).

The following year he travelled back to Paris and produced La Première Pose which is a representation of a shy model posing naked for the first time. It received a medal at the Philadelphia centennial exhibition of 1876 but also attracted some criticism for being "lewd" and not classical enough. It was influential, however, in pushing American sculpture towards more realism and away from the Italian-influenced neo-Classical tradition.

Agent Triple P thinks that it is quite splendid!

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