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Studio: international art — 15.1899

Seite: 14
DOI Heft: DOI Artikel: DOI Seite: Zitierlink: i
http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/studio1899/0028
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The Renaissance of the Medal in France

MEDAL BY MICHEL CAZIN

THE RENAISSANCE OF THE
MEDA'L IN FRANCE. BY
ROGER MARX.
During this latter end of the nine-
teenth century the medallist's art has nourished in
France to a degree unequalled for long years past.
These productions being of moderate dimensions,
and thus easy of transport, the art museums of
Europe and of America have lost no time in acquir-
ing specimens, which throughout the Old and the
New World alike have established the undoubted
supremacy of modern French glyptic art. It is
interesting to seek out the causes of this pre-emi-
nence ; to discover how it has been attained, by
what means it has manifested itself, and what have
been its results.

In the first place, one will observe that the dis-
tinctive qualities of the French nature are admirably
adapted to fulfil the special requirements of an
art wherein all is clear and logical and concise.
On the other side of the Channel the medieeval
seals, like the medals of the sixteenth, seventeenth,
and eighteenth centuries, bear in a notable degree
the stamp of an altogether peculiar style. In
addition to this fundamental distinction, which
springs from temperament and race, and is com-
mon to all ages, we have to take into account a
variety of circumstances thanks to which our age
has secured the privilege of witnessing the revival
and the remarkable expansion of an art which,
since the days of the first Napoleon, had lapsed
into neglect.

This indifference cannot wholly be attributed to
the inferiority of the work. As, the reader will
14

presently be reminded, at almost every period in
the nineteenth century the medallist has existed,
isolated perhaps, but in no way meriting this
excessive apathy. The truth is, medal-work had
to suffer from the contemptuous prejudice which
existed against all the applied arts in common.
Its utilitarian character was regarded as a blemish
and a source of inferiority. For a long time talent
strove in vain to conquer this feeling of prejudice
and to pierce the prevailing ignorance. At the
annual Salons the glyptic works were but recently
relegated to some dark corner, where they remained
almost out of sight; while the public and private
collections would have none of them. Not until
about eight years ago was a selection of these

MEDAL (OBVERSE AND REVERSE) BY J. C CHAPLAIN
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