Thursday, January 6, 2022

Sarah Bernhardt's Inkwell

Sarah Bernhardt (1845-1923) was not just an actress. She was also a sculptor. In 1879 she created this bronze inkwell in the form of a self-portrait. The inkwell traveled with her on her American tour, and was shown in the lobbies of theaters where she had starring performances.

Her head is tipped forward, and she appears in chimera form as a rare and ominous mythological creature, with bat wings and griffin feet clutching the ink vessel. 

According to the Clark Art Institute, which acquired the piece in 2020, "As one of the first celebrities in the age of photography, she was no stranger to having her likeness reproduced, which gave her a deep understanding of the power of public image as a tool for self-promotion and creative expression."

Previous posts about Sarah Bernhardt

1 comment:

Howie Green said...

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has one in their collection too. It's a fun piece to sketch, especially when they have the lighting set to be very spooky.