It could almost be said that Aristide Maillol, the sculptor, was born before the Christian era, and that it was the great sculptors of Antiquity who aroused in him the love of the naked human body and taught him the mystery of volume and the rhythm of movement. The young man's powers matured on the shores of the Mediterranean; he grew up among the vineyards close to the Spanish peninsula, in the shadow of the Pyrenees. The son of fishermen and vinegrowers, he spent his youth in a country which had once been colonized by the Greeks and Romans and where the inhabitants had retained a pure and noble type of classic beauty.
Although Maillol has lived for more than three quarters of a century, he is still young and active; inspired by ageless gods, he seems to share their eternal youth. But these heavenly gifts of youth and creative power are often dearly paid for by a life of toil and hardship; thus it has been with Aristide Maillol: he has passed through difficult years, living often in want and sometimes in great poverty; he has experienced doubt and despair and bitter disillusion, and the realization of the failure of the public to understand his work -- sufferings almost physical, if not worse, which have left their trace on his countenance.