Untitled (Medici Prince) (c. 1952) by Joseph Cornell

Untitled (Medici Prince) - Joseph Cornell - 1952

Artwork Information

TitleUntitled (Medici Prince)
ArtistJoseph Cornell
Dimensions15 1/2 x 11 1/2 x 5 in.
Art MovementSurrealism

About Untitled (Medici Prince)

The artwork “Untitled (Medici Prince)” by Joseph Cornell dates back to 1952 and is an exemplar of the Surrealist movement. With dimensions of 15 1/2 x 11 1/2 x 5 inches, this installation employs Cornell’s signature assemblage technique to evoke a dream-like tableau that engages with themes of history, memory, and the passage of time.

Upon examining the artwork, one is immediately drawn to the central figure, which appears as a monochromatic, blue-toned reproduction of a Renaissance painting, suggesting the noteworthy lineage of the Medici family. The portrait is dissected into segments by the construction of the box, integrating the historical with the contemporary. Surrounding the central image are various objects and printed materials, carefully positioned within the wooden framework which acts as a shadow box. The assemblage consists of a constellation of images and found objects such as small photographs, geometric shapes, and printed materials that seem to float against a dark ground, implying a space of both depth and reflection. The peripheral elements complement the prominence of the central portrait and create a dialogue between the layered ephemera, invoking a sense of nostalgia and the fragmentary nature of memory.

Cornell’s thoughtful composition and juxtaposition of images invites viewers into an intimate, mysterious world, offering a window into the artist’s curiosity and exploration of historical significances through the medium of three-dimensional collage.

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