Musings of Navigating The Finite remainder of life from Porchville, with the hope of a glimpse of The Infinite

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Constantin Brâncuşi’s 135th Birthday Google Doodle Masthead

Constantin Brâncuşi’s 135th Birthday

Today Google had another masthead for an artist of whom I have never heard.  It is Constantin Brâncuşi’s 135th birthday.  I am not a huge sculpture fan and modern art?  Hmmm,  let me be kind and just say that I am far too simple minded to appreciate Brâncuşi’s art. 

You can read about Constantin Brâncuşi at Wikipedia. According to this article, Brâncuşi
“was invited to enter the workshop of Auguste Rodin. Even though he admired the eminent Rodin he left the Rodin studio after only two months, saying, "Nothing can grow under big trees."

I think he should have stuck around and hoped that something would rub off.  I will let their works state my case.

Click on the images to view full size. 

Rodin's The Kiss

Brâncuşi The Kiss

Just to demonstrate what a total rube I am, check out the prices that Brâncuşi’s  works have fetched, again from Wikipedia:

“In 2002, a sculpture by Brâncuşi named "Danaide" was sold for $18.1 million, the highest that a sculpture piece had ever sold for at auction. In May 2005, a piece from the "Bird in Space" series broke that record, selling for $27.5 million in a Christie's auction. In the Yves Saint Laurent/Pierre Bergé sale on February 23, 2009, another sculpture of Brâncuşi, "Madame L.R", was sold for € 29.185 million ($ 37.2 million), setting a new historical record.”

$18.1 Million Danaide
Again I find I must ask you dear readers, good Lord, have I gone insane?  Did I pass into some parallel universe?  Is it my imagination or do some people have more money than taste or common sense?  Nah, I am just a rube.

 A wise friend once told me that art is highly subjective.  A specific work is art to an individual only if it speaks directly to him or her.  If it doesn’t, then that piece is simply not art to that individual.  Rodin’s  “The Kiss” touches my Soul,  Brâncuşi’s does not.  In my image search I found this blog site,

Konstantin Brancusi’s Sculptural Series “The Kiss” (1907 – 1925): To Be Stuck in Personal relations to the Neglect of Understanding of the Public Realm

The author was apparently deeply touched by Brâncuşi’s The Kiss, (or perhaps simply hijacked it to prove his point--a point that I came to the conclusion that I am far too stupid to decipher--although I found a certain attraction to the vast collection of 50 cent words). Alas I must confess that Brâncuşi’s art is beyond me as are all the insights that these pieces provided the author in the above blog. I rather imagine that I shall never darken the doorway of the MOMA (for aesthetic reasons as well as its location in New York City), and looking at Brâncuşi’s work confirms that belief. Modern art is beyond me, and I suspect that it is my lack of intelligence that is the cause of the flaw in appreciation. I have searched Google Images looking for a favorite Brâncuşi. I can’t find one. That said I must confess an appreciation for the Google doodle. The physical placement of the various shapes provides a recognizable Google…very clever.
$27.5 Million, Bird In Space
SEE EDIT 7-13-2012

If you find that either Rodin’s or Brâncuşi’s “The Kiss” touches you in some fashion, I would be interested in hearing from you.  Please share with us in what ways these works affect you in the comments.

You can find a very good (but huge file size) photo of Rodin’s The Kiss here:

Wikimedia Rodin's The Kiss

For the past three or four days there has been a flood of image searches on Bird In Space.  I have done a search on Google and Bing and have found no reason for the sudden interest.  I am always curious as to why a particular image suddenly generates a lot of interest.  Prediction, soon we are going to see another sale of this piece for some outrageous price.  If you have any knowledge why this image would go from several hits a month to better than 30 in one day, please leave a comment.  Thanks!

Thanks to John's comment below, it seems that the source of all the hits is an article in Wired:, Threat Level, When Art, Apple and the Secret Service Collide: ‘People Staring at Computers’, July 12, 2012

"I’m reminded of Brancusi’s “Bird in Space”, which was famously detained while being imported into the United States. The customs agents were certain it was an attempt at shipping precision engineered metal under the guise of “art”. Brancusi had been doing that kind of work for years, I doubt he was still actively reflecting on the ontological status of the piece. But it was a question the customs agents couldn’t see past."

EDIT 7-16-2012  A friend pointed out that when one Googles "Bird In Space" a small summary box appears at the upper right hand corner of the results page and the image from this blog page appears with a link.  So the popularity of the image may just be one of those quirks of Google.  My blog's fifteen minutes of fame?  The total number of hits doubled on July 12, 13, and 15.  The 14 showed a lot of traffic for Bird in Space but the total hits were not unusually high.  Saturdays are always low activity.  The doubling in hits and the big increase in searches devoted to Bird In Space on the 12th would indicate that article had something to do with it.  I ran into this phenomena after David Eagleman appeared on the Colbert Report.

Navigating The Finite, 7-28-2011, How Many Angels Can Dance on The Head of a Pin

Image Credits:, Rodin's The Kiss, Brâncuşi’s The Kiss

Google Doodle

$37.2 Million, Madame L R, Constantin Brâncuşi, Danaide, 1918, Constantin Brancusi, Bird In Space, Madame L R


  1. If you don't like scupture particularly, why are you inspired to write so many posts about particular sculptures?

  2. True, I don't much care for sculpture, but I do like Google Doodles. Nice to see you back.

  3. Hmmm! Don't click on picture while writing a comment! You lose your comment. So for the second time around....

    Upon further consideration, it is not that I dislike sculpture, it is more that I can not appreciate photos of sculpture. I am "The Accidental Art Admirer"--like Tyler's Accidental Tourist, I admire art from my chair in front of a computer. Works very well for 2 dimensional paintings on a 2 dimensional screen, however the third dimension of sculpture makes computer viewing a poor substitute, much is lost. That said, I must admit that Rodin's Kiss touches my Soul and I think it deserves it's own post (yet another sculpture post) but Brâncuşi’s Kiss? Totally beyond me. Click on Rodin's Kiss above (unless you are in the middle of a comment) and look at the absolute beauty of the woman's back. Note the tenderness of her left foot lightly resting on the man's. This brings tears to my eyes and makes me glad to have lived to see it. How does Brâncuşi’s kiss speak to one's Soul? Beats the hell out of me.

  4. Think of it as a meditation.

    His kiss is square, block like, solid, cartoonish, heavy, a weight, almost like a joke. Perhaps he held that intimacy differently that you are. Or was commenting upon it. Maybe he was speaking to Rodin. Not the elegant, idealized Kiss that moved the Gods but a kiss that is locked in a more ordinary people. It also reminds me of totems. Or objects that are fertility symbols in other native cultures. One rock, two parts as well.

    Rodin is so idealized.

    Here's a big rock dropping.

    Oh...yes, he might be just throwing a jab Rodin's way. Here's his answer to all that technical, classical skill.
    A new aesthetic.

    I doubt it was intended to speak to the soul.....probably more to the nature of the making of art.
    This was interesting:

    But I'm sure you covered this.

    Ah....nothing like the big kiss.

    1. Sarah,

      I would love to come up with some pithy reply. Alas, the ability to see this stuff is just not there. I see Soul moving beauty in Rodin, and nothing in Brancusi, other than as you indicated in your comment, one rock, two parts, a rather lovely transference of bilateral symmetry from the individual to the couple...a romantic oneness that appeals to my inner 13 year old.

      Thank you for the insightful comment. I envy your ability to see and understand the art in these works.

    2. I missed the second web page you placed above. It is great thank you. I did know about the gates of hell and the infidelity of Francesa de Rimni, but have chosen to ignore all that as an inconvenience to something that for me has always depicted the purity and innocence of sexual love if we chose to remove the stain from it. Again my little 13 year old speaking.

      Rodin agrees with you! From the web page:

      Rodin considered it overly traditional, calling The Kiss 'a large sculpted knick-knack following the usual formula.'


      "Despite the fact that The Kiss was a hit, Rodin himself did not give it much value. He wrote -
      "The embrace of The Kiss is undoubtedly very attractive. But I have found nothing in this group. It is a theme frequently treated in the academic tradition, a subject complete in itself and artificially isolated from the world surrounding it; it is a big ornament sculpted according to the usual formula and which focuses attention on the two personages instead of opening up wide horizons to daydreams". "

      Well there you have it, one of my favorite works of art is nothing but a knick knack or an ornament.

      Which BTW Bird In Space strikes me as being a rather dangerous hood ornament on a very expensive 50s car. Perhaps the hood ornament of choice for mobsters and dictators who would impale their hapless victims across the hood of their limo and then drive about displaying their ruthlessness.

      Thanks for the web site. Very interesting.

  5. Words...

    1. I wish I had some computer program that you could run text through and it would distill all the main concepts from the bullshit. It would be interesting to know just what the hell this guy is saying. BTW...great minds think alike. This is the same site that I mentioned in the post above. Oooppps. Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you and I are on any kind of equivalence in intellect. You have a very fine intellect that serves you well, and I am damned lucky if I hit the bell curve where the clapper hangs. Some of this art leads me to believe I am considerably on left side of the curve.

  6. This article refers to "Bird In Space":

    That's where all the new hits are coming from.

    Best regards, John

    1. John,

      Amazing! Thank you for the input. Who would thing that a small reference like that would result in a huge increase in hits?

      Thank you for taking the time to comment.