Here is a quick sketch of a terra cotta bust by Vincenzo Gemito of Italy in 1880.
The subject is Charlotte Meissonier, godchild of Gemito’s student, Edouard Detaille, who became semi-official artist to the French army. Was Charlotte the daughter of self-taught Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier, another accomplished artist? I was not able to find out.
Gemito was orphaned as a child but was adopted by a poor sculptor. He went on to study under two other sculptors and at 16, first sold a work of his own. He built a bronze foundry in Naples in 1883, but suffered a mental collapse 4 years later. It wasn’t until 22 years later, in 1909, that he resumed sculpting. Fortunately, he lived another 20 productive years.
Vincenzo Gemito – an inspiring story of overcoming adversity.