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Boy with a Shell George Minne


George Minne Ghent, 1866 – Laethem-Saint-Martin, 1941

Date model: 1923; cast: ca 1927
Object type sculpture
Medium, technique bronze

69.6 × 20 × 45 cm

Inventory number 6212.U
Collection Department of Art after 1800
On view Hungarian National Gallery Building D, First Floor, From Delacroix to Vasarely – Highlights from the Collection of International Art after 1800, Baroque Hall

George Minne produced his kneeling figures between 1897 and 1898, at the height of his career, although he would later return on several occasions to compositions that featured the kneeling figure of a boy, either holding something in his hands (a small relic or shell) or with his arms clasped across his chest. The precursors of these slender, fine-limbed, almost ascetic figures are to be found among works of northern Gothic sculpture. Minne’s Fountain with Kneeling Youths is perhaps the most beautiful and at the same time the most famous of these compositions and is a masterpiece of symbolist sculpture. The work comprises the figures of five boys kneeling in a circle, their arms clasped across their chests, the repetitive gestures bestowing a sense of rhythm on the ensemble. The statue Boy with a Shell, a later variant of the fountain figures, was produced in Laethem-Saint-Martin, an artists’ colony established by a group of young Belgian Flemish intellectuals of which Minne was a founding member. A plaster copy of the work was shown in 1927 in an exhibition of Belgian art organized by the Hungarian Association of Fine Arts, while the bronze version
was purchased that same year by the Museum of Fine Arts.

Anett Somodi

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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