Bust of Smiling Child
This joyful depiction of a child caught in a candid moment of youthful expression by artist Ernesto Soto Avendaño (1886–1969) shows the masterful understanding of academic naturalism while distinctively lacking any idealisation. The patina of the cast bronze catches the light offering warm tones and shadows of the figure’s voluminous hair as if caught in a breeze. The movement of the child is captured in the gentil curves of her hair while her expression tells a story of hope. The smooth texture of her face is contrasted with the patterning on the neck and shoulders of the sculpture. The patterning indicates the artistic process of bronze casting adding layered meaning by the invisible hands of the artist and maker alike. During the artist’s lifetime he won First Prize of the National Salon in 1921 and was a scholar publishing on the virtues of Auguste Rodin’s (1840–1917) “art detached from prejudices and restrictive rules." This appreciation is signalled visually in the towering sculptural group El Monumento a los Héroes de la Independencia, depicting the heroic events during the war for independence in Humahuaca, Argentina. In the centre of this sculptural work the larger figure represents the potential for liberation of the Argentinian town. The present small scale bust mirrors the same essence and movement of hope for the future that carries throughout many of Avendaño’s other sculptural figures. The artist’s notion that science along with the basic humanity found in innocence and moments of fervour are required to bring together the belief of the viewer to enliven the symbolism in art is expressed with this bust. This is perceived in the way the artist signature is placed in harmony with the inscribed mark of the foundry “Fondicion c marzovski” on the verso of this delicate, but vivified bronze bust.
At this time in Uruguay, the first men’s soccer FIFA World Cup tournament was staged in 1930. Uruguay was selected as the host nation by FIFA’s governing body, as the country was set to celebrate the centenary of its first constitution that year. The host nation would go on to win the inaugural World Cup, defeating Argentina 4-2 in Montevideo – the Uruguayan capital. A crowd of more than 68,000 spectators watched the anticipated finals unfold at the Estadio Centenario.