Untitled (Medici Boy) is an intriguing wooden box crafted by Joseph Cornell between 1942 and 1952, known for his unique assemblage works. Cornell was a non-traditional artist without any formal training but gained recognition for his innovative use of found objects to create art. This particular work features a glass-fronted box filled with old photographs, Victorian curiosities, and other bric-a-brac items that evoke a sense of nostalgia.
The Surrealist techniques used in the creation of the artwork are evident in the way disparate elements are juxtaposed to create new meanings. While the painting on the front left corner is obscure, it may depict a person reputedly responsible for heinous crimes – Pietro de’ Medici. Legend has it that he strangled his wife with a dog leash, murdered her lover before being exiled. This reference adds another layer of intrigue to an already mysterious piece.
Cornell’s choice of materials speaks volumes about his approach to art-making and his creative process. By combining discarded objects with precious knick-knacks, he elevates everyday items beyond their usual purpose while also commenting on society’s disposable nature towards certain things. The overall effect is both haunting and beautiful – reflecting Cornell’s masterful ability to enthrall through art creation.