Emile-Antoine Bourdelle (ay-MEEL an-TWAN boor-DELL) was an eclectic sculptor who drew upon a number of the diverse trends of his time,
including elements of the Art Nouveau style. He drew most heavily upon the organic qualities of French Medieval cathedral sculpture and
the simple forms of early Greek sculpture. Motivated by his conviction that history's greatest sculptures were those integrated with
architecture, Bourdelle created many of his sculptures for architectural settings.
Roll over the image to see specific attributes from the Door Knocker in Form of Medusa
Door Knocker in Form of Medusa
In this bronze door knocker, Bourdelle depicts the severed head of Medusa, hanging from Perseus's clenched fist. Above his hand a
bunch of snakes writhe, striking out as if they are going to attack. Below, only a few of Medusa's many braids actually look like scaly
As was popular at the turn of the century, Bourdelle represents Medusa as a beautiful young woman rather than the horrible monster of the
original story. Her facial features - high cheekbones, narrow nose, square chin, and the corners of her small mouth - consciously
recall the expressively modeled faces of early Greek sculptures of young women. The dominant curves of her hair, however, reflect the
popular Art Nouveau style.
Bourdelle's clever transformation of Medusa into an ornamental door knocker attests to his commitment to integrating sculpture and
architecture. Two entwined braids extend from ear to ear to create the knocker's handle. When lifted up and then let go, Medusa's head
would knock against the circular form behind it. Bourdelle produced ten casts of this door knocker, an indication that he designed it
for a general market rather than for a specific door.