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Sculpture of Medardo Rosso: Metamorphosis

Date: n.d.
12 1/16 x 9 in. (30.6 x 22.9 cm.)
Medium: on the rough side of a fiberboard panel: magazine photo of wax bust by Medardo Rosso, stained black-brown overall; verso covered with manilla paper with large gray stain
Credit Line: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Gift of the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation
Copyright: © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / VAGA, New York
Inscription: Signed in lower center of verso in black ink: Joseph Cornell Inscribed in upper center of verso in black ink: Sculpture of Medardo Rosso Inscribed in lower center of verso in black ink: Metamorphosis-- / by / Joseph Cornell
Object Number: 2005.19.4
Label Text:Cornell linked himself to the history of art by including images of other artists' work in his own. Here, he featured a photograph of a sculpture by 19th-century Italian artist Medardo Rosso. Rosso blurred distinctions between painting and sculpture by creating three-dimensional objects with shallow, unified surfaces meant to be seen from a single angle. Like Rosso's, Cornell's work defies placement into traditional art historical categories. The idea of metamorphosis-conveyed in Rosso's sculpture by the human form materializing from wax-would have appealed to Cornell, who transformed everyday, often discarded objects into high art.