Signed on the base
L. van Puyvelde, George Minne, Brussels 1930, pl. 21 and cat. no. 23 (illustration of the bronze figure)
Exhibition catalogue, George Minne en de kunst rond 1900, Museum voor Schone Kunsten Gent, 18 Sept. - 5 Dec. 1982, p. 40 and nos. 59-60 (illustrations of the bronze and marble figures)
l´Homme a l´Outre - the man with the water bag - is a major work by George Minne and was conceived in 1897. Several aspects of his sculptural artistry from around 1900 can be observed in this statue. To create perfect figuration, he choose for young male nudes. They show hardly any sign of physical power, but the pose emphasizes a certain strength and provokes some spirituality. These young men are looking inward and are isolated from the rest of the world. Preliminary drawings of this work show the development of the creation of this sculpture. Originally the work was intended to be a part of a baptismal, but Minne isolated the work from a religious context. He created a slim strong young man, which is put in a nearly impossible pose to keep the balance of his body. His slender muscles are strained while lifting the leather waterbag a second before pouring. Minne was not interested in showing physical strength as such, but he wanted to show a mentally moving scene and inner strength. In the original plan as a christening font water should be seen as the source of life. Influenced by symbolism, Minne linked the water-theme to mirroring, looking at yourself which leads to introspection. With a multilayered meaning, which is typical for Minne's work, he tried to combine religious and worldly aspects. L´homme a l´outre can be seen as a profane image of John the Baptist, but with a different, more universal meaning.
(from: the essay by A. Alhadeff in the exhibition catalgue, George Minne en de kunst rond 1900, Gent, Museum voor Schone Kunsten, 18 Sept. - 5 Dec. 1982, p. 35-40)
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