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Work of the Week | 27 September 2021

CAG.502 Toma Rosandić, Nude Male Figure, undated, wood, 203 x 60 x 61 cm. Presented, Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, 1954. © the artist’s estate.

Strike a pose with this WORK OF THE WEEK!

Nude Male Figure is a striking wooden sculpture by Toma Rosandić. Probably dating to the 1930s, it is a life-size academic study that adopts an attitude in which the standing figure’s musculature is alternately flexed and relaxed.

It was presented to the collection in 1954 by Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968). Perhaps best known for Dublin’s Chester Beatty Library, he also gifted The Sculptor, a smaller bronze by Rosandić, to the National Gallery of Ireland in the preceding year. It is likely that the American philanthropist became interested in the artist’s work during the time he spent in Yugoslavia developing the Trepča Mines (Kosovo).

Highly textured, Nude Male Figure is stylistically close to the artist’s own Harp Player (1934) and The Stone Thrower (1935), but also holds echoes of various historic sculptural works, ranging from the central form in Laocoön and His Sons to Michelangelo’s Dying Slave (1513-16) and The Age of Bronze (1876) by Auguste Rodin.

Toma Rosandić (1878-1958) was a Yugoslav sculptor and architect. Born in Split (Croatia), he learned his craft from his father who was a stoneworker, but was also much influenced by his contemporary, Ivan Meštrović (1883-1962). Rosandić exhibited in Belgrade, Milan, Rome – at the International Exhibition of Art (1911) – and, during the First World War, in Edinburgh and London. He was subsequently interned by the Germans during the Second World War, but following his release founded the Master Workshops in Belgrade, which was visited by sculptor Henry Moore in 1955.

Nude Male Figure by Toma Rosandić is displayed on Floor 1.

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:


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