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The scene shows the goddess Aphrodite leaning her head towards a winged Cupid to listen to what he wants to say to her. The goddess’s enigmatic smile suggests the frivolous character of the conversation. The artistic virtuosity: flawlessly smooth moulding and details rendered carefully are the typical features of Wiktor Brodzki’s sculptures.

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The scene shows the goddess Aphrodite leaning her head towards a winged Cupid to listen to what he wants to say to her. The goddess’s enigmatic smile suggests the frivolous character of the conversation. The artistic virtuosity: flawlessly smooth moulding and details rendered carefully are the typical features of Wiktor Brodzki’s sculptures. The richly draped fabric, a quiver and arrows belonging to Cupid, and also a pigeon, Aphrodite’s attribute, are made with great attention to detail.
A limited reserve of motifs and their eager duplication is another typical feature of the artist’s activity, caused to a large extent by a great demand for his marble statues. The fame of the talented sculptor — the protégé of the tsarist family, member of the Russian Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg from 1862 — caused a great and invariable interest in his work. The artist made this sculpture in three variations as well; two others are located in Saint Petersburg.
Numerous scenes based on mythological motifs, highly valued by wealthy clients ordering sculptures as decorations for their residences, allowed Brodzki to develop a style somewhat sentimental, full of refined gallantry. A portrait sculpture was another motif in his activity — he made many busts of famous Poles.
A studied pose of the figures and the idealisation of their facial features is a sign of inspiration with Antonio Canova’s reserved style. Academicism in the interpretation of Brodzki is characterised by a clear reference to Rococo. The sculpture, First whispers of love — a light anecdote in the interpretation permeated with sweetness — brings to mind the activity of French Rococo sculptors: Clodion and Edmé Bouchardon.
Brodzki’s work drew the attention of many critics at the First Great Exhibition of Polish Art which took place in Kraków in 1887: “It can be said here again that an erotic rhyme, charmed in marble, emits from the mouth of mischievous Cupid with love and elicits a delightful smile on the goddess’s face, permeating by its content her whole body, which is wonderfully beautiful”, Henryk Struve wrote with exaltation.

Elaborated by Agata Małodobry (The National Museum in Kraków), © all rights reserved

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Sculpture “First whispers of love” (“Whispers of love”, “Secrets of love”) by Wiktor Brodzki

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