About this artwork

Already during his lifetime George Minne enjoyed international recognition in Art Nouveau and Symbolist circles. The '‘Fountain with Kneeling Youths'’ is his most famous and most successful figure group. The slender nude youth is a distinctive creation of Minne'’s. These fragile and introspective figures are typical of the great poignancy achieved by this artist in his sculptures. The simplicity of line and the ascetic geometric character of this group are characteristic of Minne'’s nonacademic formal idiom. The repetition of five identical figures around the top of the water basin enhances the expressive force of the whole. The German art critic Julius MeierGraefe judged the '‘Fountain of Kneeling Youths'’ to be '‘a perfect ornament'’ and '‘the first sculpture of our new age'’. Minne designed the fountain in 1898 and produced different versions in plaster marble and bronze. This version is the only surviving plaster model. The artist kept it in his studio until his death.

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The Museum of Fine Arts Ghent has a collection of about 9,000 works, from the Middle Ages to the first half of the 20th century. Over 600 works are shown in the museum’s permanent collection presentation. The spotlight is mainly on painting from the Southern Netherlands but print art, sculpture and European painting are also well represented. Moreover, the museum is a knowledge centre for the art of the 19th century, the fin de siècle and the early 20th century.

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