Medardo Rosso: An Origin Story
This introductory chapter discusses how nineteenth-century art, defined by the birth of the nation-state and nationalism, is teeming with transnational forms of circulation. Italian sculptor Medardo Rosso took advantage of new international networks being created by so-called “cultural mediators” (middlemen—art dealers, critics and literary figures—who regularly traveled abroad), including exhibition opportunities and art markets throughout Europe. In doing so, he presaged the nomadic, itinerant status of twentieth- and twenty-first-century sculpture. The chapter offers a methodological challenge to the grand narrative of the nineteenth century by reframing a single artist within a cultural context characterized by transnational exchange and new forms of mobility. It provides an original, transnational way to comprehend Rosso and is intended as a model for future studies of pan-European modern art.
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