The Impossibility of Categorizing Rosso
This chapter examines the shift that emerged in Medardo Rosso's art from 1883 onward, when he made a new series of sculptural experiments that came to be labeled Scapigliato, Verista, and Impressionist by several critics. Another critic associated his art with the techniques of the Tuscan Macchiaioli of the previous generation; by 1887, it was being explicitly associated with French Impressionism. The chapter analyzes what might have been known in Italy about French Impressionism in the 1880s and assesses its reception in the art and literature of the time. It follows with a close analysis of Rossos innovative sculptures of urban subjects like Carne altrui (Flesh of Others) and La Portinaia (Concierge, both 1883–84), whose broken-up, painterly surfaces became permeable to transient effects of light, shadow, and atmosphere.
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