By: Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (1891-1915)
Created: 1913, Collection: Kettle' s Yard, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK Rights: Public Domain
Calling all graceful ballerinas, or those who always dreamt of being one. This is your moment!
The Dancer was originally modelled by hand and cast in plaster by French artist Henri Gaudier-Brzeska but it was not exhibited in Gaudier’s lifetime. It is most likely a study made in his studio of the artist Nina Hamnett, who admired the freer and natural body movements of modern dancers such as Isadora Duncan. In her autobiography of 1932, Hamnett recalls modelling naked in Gaudier’s studio for a series of carved marble torsos.
Not only does Gaudier capture the graceful twisting and stepping down of the figure, he expresses a subtle sense of movement through the very sensuous modelling of the figure, with variations on its surface that catch the light as it passes across.