Sculpture: The Bronzes of Benin

One of the great changes in artistic vision of the 20th century was the shift from the classical ideals of Greek and Roman statuary to a larger view that accepted primitive art as no less human and as equally beautiful. Artists, especially the cubists, began collecting African artifacts, were soon exploiting their untrammeled, expressionistic energy in their own painting; gradually sculpture long thought fit only for ethnological institutes began moving into galleries, museums and homes as objects of artistic merit. Yet this eager interest in African art could not have happened without the brief, tragic encounter of two civilizations.

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