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Prayer George Minne


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

Date 1894
Object type sculpture
Medium, technique bronze

44.5 × 48.5 × 37 cm

Inventory number 6213.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, Cabinet

Early in his career, Minne won acclaim as a graphic artist. His sensitivity and his interest in mysticism brought him into contact with early symbolist poets and writers, many of whom commissioned him to produce illustrations for their poetry.
Minne’s bronze sculpture Praying Nun can be associated with the poem Oraison from Maurice Maeterlinck’s 1889 volume Serres chaudes (Greenhouses). The first version of the sculpture, which was carved from wood in 1894, was likewise given the title Oraison (Prayer). There are numerous extant versions of this work. The variations in its title, which include The Mourning Woman, The Nun, Prayer, and Devotion, indicate the artist’s ambition to illustrate and visualise a specific mental state. The restrained triangular composition eloquently conveys that condition of utter dejection, anguish, sorrow and despair, in which the only refuge is prayer.
This is one of the most famous of Minne’s early works, produced before the turn of the century. The individuality of his work influenced the subsequent generation of artists, and in particular some of the followers of German Expressionism. The
sculpture was gifted to the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts by Adolf Wertheimer in 1927.

Anett Somodi

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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