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Woman at her bath
See page 133 item 68 of the book "Paul Belmondo, La sculpture sereine", Somogy Edition.
Bronze with black-brown patina, signed "P.Belmondo", cast by Claude Valsuani, bears the mark of the founder "C.VALSUANI CIRE PERDUE" (lost wax), numbered 1/7.
Born in Algiers, in 1898, into a modest family of Italian origin, Paul Belmondo began sculpture at thirteen years old and later continued his studies, which were interrupted by the first World War, at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts of Algiers.
After receiving a grant, he pursued his training in Paris, where he met his master, Charles Despiau. He later became the student of Jean Boucher, academic painter, who taught him the advanced study of drawing through direct observation. An accomplished sculptor, Paul Belmondo became interested in all facets of this art's discipline, creating medals as well as monumental sculptures.
Influenced by the Antiquity and the Renaissance, his work is characterized by its plain style, full of delicacy and sensibility. As many artists of his time, Paul Belmondo liked to study female bodies, much inspired in this by his two teachers. The studio in which he settled, located on the avenue Denfert-Rochereau, had been a place for creation for over sixty years.
Nowadays, many of his works can be admired at the musée Paul Belmondo, which was founded in Boulogne Billancourt at the instigation of his no less famous son, Jean-Paul Belmondo, and under the direction of Emmanuel Bréon.
After receiving several prizes, the sculptor stood out by the treatment of his works, both meticulous and spirited. After the war, he started teaching at the Ecole nationale des Beaux-Arts de Paris and, in 1960, became a member of the Institut de France.
With its pure and elegant lines, Paul Belmondo's work is very much in the neoclassical trend.
Borrowing from the iconography of bath, one the most popular themes since the ancient Greek and until the 20th century, the subject falls within the study of the body in all its nobility, with a reinterpretation of the classic canons.
The interest of artists in this subject goes back to the Renaissance and Baroque era which offered, through biblical characters (Suzanne, Esther, Bethsabée) new criteria for the representation of women bathing.
The sculptor here captured the naked young woman sitting, facing forward, in a very gracious pose, which highlights the finese of her anatomy. His work of drawings also features many studies of nudes, mainly in red chalk.
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