Untitled (Medici Princess) (c. 1948) by Joseph Cornell

Untitled (Medici Princess) - Joseph Cornell - 1948

Artwork Information

TitleUntitled (Medici Princess)
ArtistJoseph Cornell
Dimensions17 5/8 x 11 1/8 x 4 3/8 in.
Art MovementSurrealism
Current LocationPrivate collection

About Untitled (Medici Princess)

The artwork “Untitled (Medici Princess)” was created by the artist Joseph Cornell in the year 1948. This piece is associated with the Surrealism movement and is of the installation genre. The dimensions are 17 5/8 x 11 1/8 x 4 3/8 inches, and the artwork presently resides in a private collection.

The artwork presents a box construction that is divided into compartments, each housing a variety of objects and images. Central to the work is the figure of a young girl, reminiscent of Renaissance portraiture, perhaps implying the Medici Princess, which sits behind a glass pane that also serves to compartmentalize her image. She is adorned in period attire and necklace, underscoring her noble status.

Around this central figure are numerous smaller elements that create a visual dialogue with the portrait. These elements include printed material, photographic reproductions, and found objects such as maps, stars, and other items that may symbolize navigation, exploration, and perhaps the princess’s social and cultural milieu. Notably, there is a row of small portrait photographs arranged vertically to the left of the central figure, invoking a sense of historical context or lineage.

The lower section includes a rolling cylindrical element, adorned with printed figures of birds on branches, introducing a kinetic aspect to the piece. The usage of the box and the collection of varied components are hallmarks of Cornell’s style, which often evoked a sense of nostalgia and whimsy, as well as the subconscious associations characteristic of Surrealism. The viewer is invited to explore the narrative and engage with the piece’s dreamlike assemblage, drawing personal connections and meanings from the disparate elements unified within the artwork’s enigmatic world.

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