Cassiopeia 1 (Verso) (1960) by Joseph Cornell

Cassiopeia 1 (Verso) - Joseph Cornell - 1960

Artwork Information

TitleCassiopeia 1 (Verso)
ArtistJoseph Cornell
Art MovementSurrealism

About Cassiopeia 1 (Verso)

The artwork titled “Cassiopeia 1 (Verso)” was created by Joseph Cornell in 1960, during a period in which the Surrealist art movement was influential. It is an installation that merges various elements to invoke a sense of ethereal mystique and recalls themes traditional to Surrealism.

In the artwork, we encounter a composition replete with a collage of images and objects encased within a box-like structure that serves as the frame for the piece. The background appears to be a printed material featuring textual contents, over which two principal circular forms are prominently displayed. These circles contain intricate arrays of symbols and figures, resembling celestial maps or ancient astrological charts, rich in visual texture and detail.

Below the circles, at the bottom section of the artwork, there is a juxtaposition of images, including a classical statue reminiscent of ancient Greek or Roman works, placed next to a panoramic scene depicting a gathering of people. This tableau appears to be set within an architectural landscape, possibly alluding to historical or mythical narratives.

The materials used and the method of layering them underscore the Surrealist penchant for exploring the subconscious and invoking dream-like visions through unexpected combinations of objects and imagery. Cornell’s piece is emblematic of his unique style within the movement, where he often employed boxes to create miniature dioramas or collages, blurring the lines between the tangible and the imaginary.

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