Portrait of a Woman
Portrait of a Woman

Portrait of a Woman

Author: Zikaras Juozas, 1881 - 1944

Created: 1926. 

Material/technique: bronze.

Dimensions: Ø 27.

Signature: J. Zikaras (in the bottom-right; Akt.[ien-Gesellschaft] = Ges.[ellschaft] vorm.[als] H.[ermann] Gladenbeck u.[nd] Sohn Berlin.

Pliny the Elder (Gaius Plinius Secundus) in first-century Rome declared that the Western tradition of art and sculpture had its roots in the profiled portrait: when the daughter of a Corinthian vase maker was parting with her lover, she drew the outline of the shadow of his profile on a wall, and her father made a clay bas-relief of it. The Enlightenment not only revived this anecdote about the Corinthian girl, but also gave rise to the vogue for silhouettes, which instigated the contemplation of links between a shadow and an image, a profile and a character. Such contemplations were also induced by the habit of decorating houses with bas-relief portraits of famous people or loved ones made from porcelain, terracotta or bronze. The tradition survived until the middle of the 20th century, and is still alive in tombstones and medals. In interwar Lithuania, the profile portraits by Petras Rimša and Juozas Zikaras were especially valued for correctly reflecting the looks and characters of their models. Most of them are made of plaster and terracotta, bronze ones are a rarity. The inscription on the edge of this bas-relief (Akt.[ien-Gesellschaft] = Ges.[ellschaft] vorm.[als] H.[ermann] Gladenbeck u.[nd] Sohn Berlin) shows that the image of this unknown woman was cast in Berlin at the Gladenbeck foundry. The name of the company helps us to determine the date of the work, as the foundry, which was established in 1857, initially bore only the name of its founder Hermann Gladenbeck. The name was changed to H. Gladenbeck und Sohn at the beginning of the 20th century, when the founder’s eldest son Oscar became its manager. In 1927, it became the publicly quoted company Aktien-Gesellschaft Friedrichshagen (liquidated in 1942). Consequently, the bas-relief made in 1926 by Zikaras must have been cast at the earliest in 1927.

Reference:  ‘More Than Just Beauty", compiled by G. Jankevičiūtė. Vilnius, LAWIN, 2012.

Exhibitions: “More Than Just Beauty: The Image of Woman in the LAWIN collection”, 12 October – 11 November 2012, National Gallery of Art; Vilnius.

Published: "More Than Just Beauty", compiled by G. Jankevičiūtė. Vilnius, LAWIN, 2012., Kat. No. 23, P. 41.