Known for enigmatic depictions of people from everyday life, Medardo Rosso’s sculptural subjects included women with children, the elderly, and rambunctious youths. Among the nearly 100 works in Medardo Rosso: Experiments in Light and Form, one gallery is devoted to a subject that captures the intimacy between a mother and her child.
Pictured above, Rosso’s Aetas aurea (Golden Age, late 1885–86) is believed to be a portrait of the artist’s wife, Giuditta Pozzi, and their infant son, Francesco Evviva Ribelle. Modeled in urgent, vivid detail and cast in a variety of materials including wax and bronze, this subject is psychologically and emotionally charged. Is the mother comforting her crying child by pulling him close? Or is the child pushing away, agitated by her attention? Two versions on view at the Pulitzer reveal subtle differences that can alter one’s perception of the scene. The gallery also includes Rosso’s own photographs of this work, in which the artist framed the sculpture or cropped the print—articulating a range of glimpses that highlight the face of the child.