Joseph Cornell’s Untitled (Medici Princess) is a wood box construction artwork made in 1952. The artwork is associated with Surrealism, Assemblage, and even Pop Art. Cornell lacked any formal art training, but critics have seen in his creations signs of Surrealism with its emphasis on dreams and irrationality.
The artwork has a label affixed to the inside that is signed by Joseph Cornell. He spent most of his days in a small home on the basement in New York. Cornell played a major role in America Surrealism; in 1939, Salvador Dalí described his art as “the only truly Surrealist work to be found in America.”
The Medici Princess’ figure featured in the artwork is thought to evoke Bia de’ Medici, daughter of Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici – a powerful Florentine banker and politician. The box-construction technique used by Cornell began taking shape from the 1930s when he supplemented a work’s found objects with imagery sourced from magazines, books, or other artists.
Cornell’s creation of boxes affirms the beauty and mystery of everyday objects and provide visual poetry for the flight of our imaginations along with their ephemeral nature upon close scrutiny. Overall, Untitled (Medici Princess) depicts unprecedented creative energy showcasing that artists do not always require an extensive education or formulaic techniques to create beautiful masterpieces!