Yes Karen, this is art. Now before you laugh away thinking that you are looking at is a sculpture of a man’s junk, brace yourself because this is actually a sculpture of a woman. Yes! You read that right, a woman. Now if at first you do not see it, and I know I didn’t at all, maybe by the end of this small write up you might.
I know you are looking at it and thinking, that is not a woman at all, and maybe it’s not.
So first if you thought this was made in like 1970’s, which seems like a time when something like this would be made, you are wrong. It was created around 1915 by Constantin Brancusi and it was molded after French princess Marie Bonaparte. Marie was the great-grand niece of Waterloo fame, Napoleon Bonaparte. It is made of bronze and stands a little over two and half feet tall.
When I came upon this work of art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, I was not sure at all what I was looking at. My first reaction, like many before me, was why is a dong sculpture doing in a museum. Now I know that male form can be seen in a lot of artwork going back to the Greek, but often for it to be the focus of a piece at a world famous museum is not too common. So after I got home I started to dig around to find out a little about it, and to my surprise it was not what I thought it was.
So Brancusi, who was a Romanian artist, had a style that was very abstract in nature. Once you learn a little about his style you start to see how this could be a woman. So according to the artist, The woman in the sculpture is supposed to be looking over and down in an object. The large round anchors are supposed to be a bust. Small ripples on the back denote where the hair should be. Brancusi said that the princess was a very vain woman who would hold a mirror in hand even as she ate so she could look upon herself. So the round shape is supposed to be a woman locked in a loop of looking at herself.
Does any of that make sense? It does when you look at it from an artist point of view. To everyone else, it’s still just a penis.