La Sposa

2000
Bronze
171 x 90 x 51 cm
Edition of 5

This sensuous sculpture, which in a sense is a two-sided relief, is a development of Relief: Bride (1975), a wall relief, which showed a girl's body tantalisingly revealed through a flimsy curtain. The surreal nature of this body/curtain is reminiscent of a painting by René Magritte, Le Modèle Rouge (1935), which revolves around the theme of concealment and in which the boots reveal the feet that they cover. So it is with La Sposa, which from the front shows the girl's hands holding the curtain, revealing her nubile form, also visible on the reverse. It is as though she is concealed and revealed within an envelope of the finest silk. In the woodland La Sposa becomes an elusive nymph, a spectre of human form. Cast in bronze from an original carving in marble which was exhibited in the Royal Academy's summer show of 1999, this version emulates the stone. The pale blue-green patina emphasises the ghostly quality of the form, as it apparently hovers between the trees. Compared with his early works, most famously Meat Porters, La Sposa shows how Ralph Brown has refined form in a gentler theme, although who knows what violence may take place behind the veil. For Brown, the art of the past remains a major source of inspiration.

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About The Artist

After a visit to Paris in 1951 Brown became inspired by sculptors Auguste Rodin, Alberto Giacometti and Germaine Richier. Later, in 1954, he made a special study of Rodin whilst in Paris on a scholarship to work in the studio of Ossip Zadkine. During the same visit he met Giacometti and Richier. In 1956 he published a thesis, Some Digressions on Rodin and Medardo Rosso and completed a further scholarship, awarded by the University of London in 1957. Henry Moore later sponsored his practice, which enabled him to visit Italy where he made a particular study of Etruscan sculpture and the work of Giovanni Pisano and Piero della Francesca. Brown visited the studios of Marino Marini, Giacomo Manzù and Emilio Greco. At this time he also worked for a period in Cannes making mosaic panels for Picasso.

Browns work is deeply rooted in figurative tradition but has a sensitive approach to the human form that is suggestive of movement and human experience. Brown's work frequently displays gently erotic forms that can be missed if his work is only observed momentarily. His work is layered with savagery only discernible to the perceptive eye, much like how often the layers of human emotion remain carefully hidden underneath the surface of twentieth century constructed identity.

Ralph Brown

Born: 1928

Other Artworks by Ralph Brown at CASS

2000

Meat Porters

Meat Porters was made in response to a commission by Harlow Art Trust for the town's Market Square in 1960. Previously a…

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    Meat Porters
    Meat Porters was made in response to a commission by Harlow Art Trust for the town's Market Square i…

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Sculpture

Meat Porters

Meat Porters was made in response to a commission by Harlow Art Trust for the town's Market Square in 1960. Previously a concrete version, Sarcophori,…