Sarah Bernhardt is most widely
known for her abilities as an
actress during the 19th century
and developed quite a reputation
in that arena.
What I was surprised to learn
about her today was that she
was quite skilled as a sculptor.
She took up this interest around
1869 and was encouraged by
Mathieu Meusnier who recognized
her gifts in this area.
Bernhardt was drawn to take up
this other artform as she had
become "discouraged and disgusted"
with the theater, although she
didn't walk away from it entirely.
"Death of Ophelia" by Sarah Bernhardt
In 1880 she did a bas relief called
"Death of Ophelia". Some six
years later in a Paris theater
Ms. Bernhardt was cast as Ophelia
in a play by Hamlet, which was a
long held ambition of the actress.
It's written that Ms. Bernhardt
had an obsession with death and
sexuality that stemmed from
childhood. One can pick up on this
theme through much of her work.
To wrap up, "After the Storm" at the
top, was an ambitious piece that
Ms. Bernhardt submitted to the
Salon de Paris where it received
Honorable Mention. The sculpture
was inspired by a personal experience
with a woman she crossed paths with
along the shore.
There's so much more to read about
her. Here's one link for more