Docstoc

Sculpture A

Document Sample
Sculpture A Powered By Docstoc
					French Sculpture




                                                                                                               Visitor’s Sheet
Daumier, Carpeaux, Rodin...
• Presentation
• Targeted public
• Objectives
• Before and after the visit
• The visit: the artworks
• Bibliography

Presentation                                           the developing taste for the Orient, which had
                                                       come about through exploratory voyages,
                                                                                                              obtained was called the "original plaster cast". At
                                                                                                              this point, techniques diverged depending on
                                                       colonisation and the birth of ethnological sciences.   whether bronze or stone was to be used for the
This visit provides an introduction to French
                                                                                                              definitive work,.
sculpture in the greater part of the 19th century,
                                                                                                              For bronze, the technique most often used in the
beginning in 1830, with Honoré Daumier, through        The rules of the trade                                 19th century was lost-wax casting. In a new hollow
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux and Auguste Rodin, right
                                                                                                              mould, made after the original plaster cast, the
up to the first years of the 20th century with Émile   The tuition of 19th century sculptors                  founder poured a skin of wax to get an exact
Bourdelle and Joseph Bernard. This period was
                                                       The traditional education of a sculptor followed       replica of the model. Once set, the wax cast was
particularly fruitful, producing sculptures destined
                                                       the course of tuition offered by the École des         surrounded by a network of wax funnels and
for the outdoors as well as indoors, for façades,
                                                       Beaux-Arts (School of Fine-Arts). This was mainly      outlets (runners and risers) through which, in the
fountains, squares, gardens and cemeteries. From
                                                       based on drawing, either from life models or after     next stage, the bronze would be poured and the
1880 onwards, the rise of monumental sculpture
                                                       the Antique (plaster casts), along with the study of   melted wax and gas would be chased out. The
was such that the word “statue-mania” has been
                                                       “history and the Classics”. Studios, both in           whole device was then covered by a thick shell
coined to describe the era. However, despite its
                                                       painting and sculpture, were only set up following     made of heat resistant materials before being
variety of subjects and techniques and the scope of
                                                       the École’s reform in 1863. Up until then, students    heated up. The melted wax, oozed out of the
its achievements, interest for the sculpture of the
                                                       had been allowed to enrol at private studios, most     “risers” whilst the liquid metal was poured
epoch has been largely deflected by the beguiling
                                                       of which were run by tutors from the Beaux-Arts.       through the “runners” to fill the empty space.
turmoil which was taking place at the same time
                                                       Numerous competitions were organised, the most         Once the bronze had cooled, the mould was
in the world of painting, especially the advent of
                                                       prestigious being the Prix de Rome, which              broken, the runners and risers (now filled with
impressionism in the 1870’s-1880’s.
                                                       awarded the laureate five years – reduced to four      bronze) were cut off at surface level, and the
                                                       after 1863 – of study in the Villa Medici. Such an     sculpture was chiselled back and polished before
Traditional subjects                                   official blessing was the assurance of a career        being patinated (coloured) through the chemical
                                                       nourished by commissions and by exhibitions at         action of heated oxides. When a hollow statue was
and new sources of inspiration                                                                                required, which was most frequently the case,
                                                       the official Salon. Academicians dominated the
                                                       juries of the École des Beaux-Arts, the Prix de        especially where large formats were concerned, a
Sculpture retained its traditional themes: subjects
                                                       Rome and the Salon and so determined the nature        core of heat resistant materials was introduced in
derived from mythology such as the classical
                                                       of the dominant aesthetic. Despite such                the plaster mould at the beginning of the
allegories of dance, music, theatre… but with new
                                                       institutional constraints, many artists succeeded in   operation. The wax, and then the bronze, thus
interpretations. Many artists (Barye, Fremiet…)
                                                       preserving their personal vision and by the end of     occupied only a narrow space between the mould
continued the tradition of animal sculpture, which
                                                       the century, some of them began to receive             and core. The core was then taken out and the
was flourishing.
                                                       instruction on the fringes of these institutions.      sculpture left hollow. Using the original plaster the
The main developments occurred in the
                                                                                                              process could be repeated enabling multiple
representation of people. With the fall of the
                                                       Materials and methods in sculpture                     editions to be made of the same work.
monarchy and the secularisation of the State,
                                                                                                              If the sculptor wanted to make his work in stone
images of saints and royalty were no longer being      Whatever the material they used, artists had a         (limestone, marble…), he used a “pointing”
produced. The 19th century tended to replace these     choice of making three kinds of sculptures. They       machine. This was a measuring instrument, a kind
with public sculptures of important persons whose      could make a “bas-relief” where the form is only       of three-dimensional set of compasses which
success was rather due to their own personal           slightly raised from the surface of the block; Bas-    allowed the points of reference marked on the
merit: the statues represented great men who           reliefs are most often used in architecture to         original cast to be duplicated onto the block of
were exemplary in terms of civic virtues and who       decorate walls and façades. If the depth of the        stone. Sculptors usually relied on technical
were to be seen as figure-heads for the society as a   carving or modelling is more pronounced,               assistants to do this work. They began by roughing
whole.                                                 although still not completely detached from the        out a sketchy form on the block of stone before
Whether the subjects of the statues were heroes        surface of the block, one speaks of “high-relief”.     using the pointing machine to mark precise points
from Classical or contemporary times they most         Finally, “a sculpture in the round” is sculpted on     which would help them to complete a work as
often embodied the idea of progress; humanity on       all sides and can be walked around.                    close to the original cast as possible. With the
the march and the victory of “reason”. A good          During this epoch, the traditional image of the        machine, the technical assistant had the flexibility
knowledge of the Classics was part of the              sculptor chiselling away at a block of stone to        of retaining, enlarging or reducing the scale of the
established culture of the European elite: the         “reveal” the finished work, bore little relation to    original whilst still respecting the proportions of
Gracchi, Aristotle, and Virgil being familiar          reality even though, by the end of the century, a      the sculpture.
references for the 19th century public. Throughout     few artists did adopt direct cutting. In most cases,   Illustrations to these explanations can be found in
the century, contemporary glories, although            several people were involved in the process of         publications mentioned in the bibliography below
sometimes fleeting, were represented with an           creation. The sculptor, considered as the main         or by visiting the display in the Musée d’Orsay’s
increasing regularity. The new taste was for           author, mainly gave shape to the idea in wax or        sculpture gallery (located behind the large clock,
leaders, such as Napoleon and Gambetta in              clay, materials that are easy to model. This           on the middle level).
politics, Balzac and Hugo in literature, Claude        original model sparked a process of different
Bernard and Pasteur in the field of sciences. Less     stages which vary according to the material to be
well-known characters were also included, such         used for the definitive work.
as the playwright Émile Augier, the engineer Léon      The first stage was to make a hollow mould from
Serpollet and Ernest Rousselle, president of the       the model, generally in Plaster-of-Paris. For
municipal council of Paris! The scope for              reliefs, the mould was usually made in one piece,
allegorical representation was broadened too; the      whereas for sculptures in the round it was made of
epoch produced numerous and diverse versions of        two or more parts called “shells”. The inside of the
Revolution, the Republic, Liberty…                     mould was then coated with a barrier substance
Finally, certain sculptors turned to the               (oil, shellac etc) to preventing sticking before
representation of faraway peoples, influenced by       being filled with Plaster-of-Paris. The form
The main artistic movements                             Eclecticism                                             untranslatable: thoughts, aspirations and dreams.
                                                                                                                In the words of Jean Moréas, “Art should not seek
Whilst avoiding a rigid classification of artworks      Under the Second Empire (1852-1870), sculptors          more in the objective, than an extremely succinct
and artists, it is possible - and useful in             such as Carpeaux, wanting to overcome the               starting point”. Thus defined, Symbolism pertains
educational terms - to identify a few main artistic     traditional barrier between neo-classicism and          more to a state of mind than to a stylistic
movements.                                              romanticism, gave birth to a new style known as         movement. For example, Auguste Rodin - an artist
                                                        Eclecticism. These artists drew their inspiration       of genius who may not be categorised - in his
Neoclassicism                                           from all the styles of the past giving no special       famous monument to Balzac, only used the
Neoclassicism means “inspired by Antiquity”. This       place to Antiquity. They showed equal enthusiasm        writer’s physical characteristics as an inspirational
movement, which had begun in the Renaissance,           for the art of the Middle Ages, for the French and      starting point, eventually giving him a quasi-
was stimulated at the end of the 17th century by        Italian Renaissance, the styles of Louis XIV, Louis     abstract image which symbolised his full might.
archaeological discoveries of Classical sculptures,     XV and Louis XVI, as well as the Baroque! They
in particular at Pompeii and Herculaneum. Neo-          synthesised these multiple references and did not       The return to style
classicists were on a quest to find “ideal beauty”,     hesitate in juxtaposing any or all of them in a
                                                                                                                In the very first years of the 20th century, sculptors
vying with Antiquity, which in their eyes was the       single piece. Emerging from this movement was a
                                                                                                                turned away from both Naturalism and Symbolism
only era in all history which had been able to          group of artists called the “Neo-Florentines”, who
                                                                                                                and endeavoured to recover the Classical qualities
attain it. In painting, the movement reached its        were specifically interested in the Tuscan
                                                                                                                of clarity and balance without imitating Classical
peak with David (1748-1825) and his school in           Renaissance and whose sculptures, depicting
                                                                                                                sculpture as the Neoclassicists had done. On the
painting, and Antonio Canova (1757-1822) in             gracefully delicate adolescents, invaded the Salons
                                                                                                                formal plane, artists simplified figures, favouring a
sculpture, whose particularly striking sculptural       until the last quarter of the 19th century. Also
                                                                                                                single view point and treated the surface with an
group Amour et Psyché (Love and Psyche, 1787-           classed with the Eclectic movement are those
                                                                                                                extreme regularity. André Gide compared the
1793) can be found at the Louvre. During the            sculptors inspired by the Orient, either through
                                                                                                                harmony, the passionless balance of the gestures,
second half of the 19th century, Neoclassicism          fantasy or as a result of actual travels, some of
                                                                                                                the perfect self-control of the bodies sculpted by
continued to be found in austere works dominated        whom gave a new lease of life to colour in
                                                                                                                Aristide Maillol to Rodin’s: “panting, worried,
by heroic nudity and Classical-inspired drapery.        sculpture, combining materials of different hues.
                                                                                                                significant, full of pathetic clamour”. The aesthetic
The objective of such pieces was to convey moral                                                                choices of this “return to style” are to be felt
values through the representation of mythical and       Realist movements
                                                                                                                particularly in the relationship between
allegorical figures or the heroes of Greco-Roman        The realist movement in painting was born in the        architecture and sculpture, as can be seen in the
history. The preferred material of Neoclassical         1840’s, and associated with the personalities of        bas-reliefs sculpted by Antoine Bourdelle for the
sculpture was marble as it suited solemnity, and        Gustave Courbet, Jean-François Millet and Honoré        façade of the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in
the impassivity of expressions, although some, like     Daumier. At first it was considered to be related to    Paris.
Eugène Guillaume, were able to use bronze whilst        the political and social movements of the time, in
remaining faithful to the Classical model in their      particular with the 1848 revolution. Yet not all        Sculptures by painters
choice of both subject and form.                        realist artists claimed this connection. They
                                                                                                                Numerous painters tackled sculpture as a
                                                        wanted, beginning with the close observation of
Romanticism                                                                                                     complement, preparation or follow-up to their
                                                        daily life, to depict social reality, which Courbet
                                                                                                                painted work. But some of them, whilst essentially
In contrast to Neoclassical tradition, Romantic         worded as follows: “To be able to translate morals,
                                                                                                                remaining painters, practised sculpture for its own
artists sought to probe the depth of the individual’s   ideas, what my times look like according to my
                                                                                                                sake. Thus Edgar Degas, although exhibiting only
internal world, to express torments, revolts and        appreciation, to be not only a painter but also a
                                                                                                                one sculpture during his lifetime (The Little
hopes. Rather than rendering the purity of forms,       man, in a word, to make living art, that is my
                                                                                                                Dancer), has left many figurines in which he
they endeavoured to convey their true expression,       goal”. Realism was progressively less perceived as
                                                                                                                strove, using three dimensions, to convey a feeling
sometimes distorting proportions and modelling          being subversive and came to be known by the
                                                                                                                of life and movement as accurately as possible. In
for the sake of liveliness. The best known              new term “Naturalism”. By the end of the century
                                                                                                                not having had the sculptors’ academic training,
representatives of French Romanticism are the           it had succeed as one of the dominant movements,
                                                                                                                and not seeking fame through their sculptures,
painters Eugène Delacroix and Théodore                  in particular as far as official commissions were
                                                                                                                these artists practiced this art with a total liberty
Géricault, whose tormented and colourful                concerned. Sculptors like Constantin Meunier and
                                                                                                                and so opened the way to modernity.
compositions contrast sharply with the formal           Jules Dalou substituted ancient heroes with
rigidity and emphasis on line extolled by the           contemporary figures and glorified Republican
Neoclassicists. In the field of sculpture, some         values and the world of workers and peasants.
artists hotly contradicted Théophile Gautier’s          Stylistically, naturalist artists refused to idealise
assertion: “Of all the arts, the least suited to        their models and gave their allegories the air of
express the romantic idea is assuredly sculpture. It    real human beings with all their strong and weak
seems that it received its definitive form from         points. Many projects were made for monuments
Antiquity… All sculptors are Classical by               dedicated to labour, including sketches and
necessity”. The Romantics were admirers of              preparatory works, through very few reached
Goethe, who sought inspiration in Dante, Virgil         completion in the artists’ lifetimes.
and Shakespeare’s evocations of death or the
animal world, who contrived to convey the               Symbolism
anguish and torments that haunted them, who             The Symbolist movement developing in parallel
aimed, as Romantic, Auguste Préault put it, to          with Realism reproached the latter’s lack of
express not the “finished” but the “unfinished”.        idealism and spirituality. The Symbolists, mostly
                                                        writers and painters, and a lesser number of
                                                        sculptors, refused a world dominated by science
                                                        and machines and sought to translate the
Objectives                                            Before and after the visit                              casting, founding) and to construct forms (adding,
                                                                                                              taking away, combining).
                                                                                                              Observe the tools used in its action and their
• This visit is targeted at pupils from all school    The visit to the Musée d’Orsay is an opportunity to
                                                                                                              traces which may sometimes be seen on the
levels: primary school, lower secondary school        explore several aspects of sculpture with the
                                                                                                              sculptures (boasting chisel, sculpting knife, chisel,
(visual arts, history) and upper secondary school     pupils:
                                                                                                              wooden mallet, stone carver’s mallet, point, tooth
(visual arts, history of art, A level history).       • the volumes (composition, gestures, balance…)
                                                                                                              chisel, bore, bush-hammer, rasp).
• To introduce pupils to 19th century sculpture,      • the effects (colours and textures of the materials,
highlighting its diversity.                           lighting effects…)
                                                                                                              3. Suggested activities
• The pupils may take advantage of the multi-         • the techniques (materials, fabrication
disciplinary nature of the Museum’s collections to    processes…)                                             How to organise volumes?
compare sculpture (three dimensions) and              • the functions (decorative, religious, political,      Allow the children to explore material and
painting (two dimensions): the different materials    commemorative…).                                        volumes by touching them.
and the respective ways in which they are worked,                                                             It is nevertheless necessary to warn them of the
the series production of cast works…                                                                          fragility of artworks (delicate parts that may break,
• To identify the different aesthetic movements       Primary schools                                         but also surfaces and patina that may be damaged
and introduce the most important sculptors.                                                                   by contact with visitors’ hands), and that it is our
• To stimulate curiosity (identify and recognise      Information comprehensible to young children            responsibility not to touch artworks in museums in
scenes from mythology, literature and history).       may be selected from the “presentation” section,        order to preserve the heritage for future
• To identify recurring themes and subjects: great    in particular on technical aspects and on the most      generations.
men, allegories, literary or historic characters…     commonly illustrated themes in 19th century
                                                      sculpture.                                              Bumps and hollows
• To introduce some great characters from
                                                                                                              Make a bas-relief on a plate of clay creating a
mythology (Heracles…), Antiquity (The Gracchi,
                                                      1. the vocabulary                                       rhythm of bumps and hollows (with folds, drapery,
Virgil…), from literature (Ugolino/Dante, Goethe,
                                                                                                              geometric shapes…).
Balzac), from contemporary history (the               Identify the sculptures in the round, bas-reliefs       Look for the same effects with a variety of
parliamentarians of the July Monarchy with            and high-reliefs (see presentation above).              materials: crumpled paper, cardboard, cloth
Daumier, the Imperial Prince, Gambetta…),             Sculpture or statue?                                    dipped into Plaster of Paris, aluminium foil,
political and religious symbols (Saint Michael…)      The word “sculpture” comes from the Latin verb          modelling clay, objects…
and study how they have been represented.             sculpere which means shaping. It focuses on the         All the resulting objects can be put together to
• Encourage the discovery of sculpture in the city,   sculptor’s action as he creates a form out of the       make a collective artwork.
its location, dimensions, podium and                  material.
complementary elements (bas-reliefs, plates,          The word sculpture refers to the artist’s work but      Rough and smooth materials
inscriptions).                                        also to their work as a whole (e.g. Rodin’s             Touch the texture of materials which, like the
                                                      sculpture). It covers a more generic use (for           surface of a skin, constitute the “grain” of the
                                                      instance “Greek sculpture” or “19th century             sculpture: (smooth material, without traces of
                                                      sculpture” meaning all the sculptures made              tools, rough materials, with traces of tools).
                                                      during these periods).                                  Observe the surfaces which absorb light and those
                                                      The term “statue” also comes from Latin, from the       over which it glides.
                                                      verb stare which means to stand, thus describing        Encourage the children to find the rhythms of
                                                      one of the essential characteristics of sculpture,      textures based on oppositions of words like
                                                      that of balance.                                        smooth/coarse, finished/rough.
                                                      The statue also refers to an artwork representing a     Guide the children by suggesting verbs linked to
                                                      single character.                                       cutting (carving, digging, emptying, piercing,
                                                      These etymologies also give us the terms                marking, engraving, boring, punching…) or to
                                                      “sculptor” and “statuary”.                              polishing (polishing, planing, sanding, softening,
                                                      Sculptors master the art of modelling forms, while      filing, scraping, rasping…). Link these to specific
                                                      “statuary” consists in making human or animal           tools.
                                                      figures in a hard material. In the 19th century         Get the children to take prints of different objects
                                                      “statuary” is sometimes applied to sculptures           and fabrics…
                                                      ornamenting a building.
                                                      The “technical assistant” has the task of carving       Volumes that “stand”
                                                      an artwork in stone or marble, using the template       Make experiments with the balance of one’s own
                                                      of a clay or plaster model made previously by the       body, moving or still, in order to understand why
                                                      sculptor.                                               some sculpted figures lean on something (trees,
                                                                                                              columns, drapery…).
                                                      2. Materials and tools                                  Test the limits of balance by making a movement
                                                                                                              resting on 4, 3, 2 and then 1 point on the ground.
                                                      Compare the choice of materials used by 19th            The experiment may be videoed to watch the
                                                      century artists with those of today. Explore the        movements in slow motion.
                                                      notions of durable or ephemeral work.
                                                      Classify the materials according to their               Make experiments about balance using all kinds of
                                                      characteristics (hard, supple, liquid materials),       materials, blocks of wood, cardboard, metal,
                                                      find out their origins (mineral, vegetable, animal,     plastic and test their weights. Build a very stable
                                                      metal).                                                 volume, pyramid-shaped, and then try to reduce
                                                      Try out the actions to be performed in order to         the number of resting points. One may also disturb
                                                      transform them (modelling, carving, moulding,           the usual laws of gravity by introducing magnets
                                                                                                              in metallic blocks.
                                                                                                                    Musée d’Orsay
                                                                                                                    Service culturel
                                                                                                                    text: Ch. Sniter, N. Hodcent and J. Bolloch
                                                                                                                    translation: F. Troupenat and E. Hinton Simoneau
                                                                                                                    graphism design and printing :
                                                                                                                    Musée d’Orsay, Paris 2005




Multiple points of view                                   statue of Riot (Marcel), the statue of Disobedience       • Émile-Antoine Bourdelle : Héraklès tue les
To see a sculpture in the round entirely, one has to      to the Law (Dolet), the statue of Immorality              oiseaux du lac Stymphale (Heracles Killing the
walk around it.                                           (Diderot), the statue of Violence and Hate                Birds on the Stymphalian Marshes), 1909
Lay constructed volumes or sketches made of clay          (Danton)?”.                                               • Edgar Degas : La Petite danseuse de quatorze ans
on a sculptor’s wheel or on a piece of cardboard          Consider how monuments are set, the height of             (The Little Dancer), 1878-1881
that may be moved around.                                 their podiums. Consider the space in which they
Record the different “points of view” with                are placed. Rodin’s Balzac, for example, is
photographic shots or by projecting the silhouette
on a sheet of paper as in a shadow show. By
                                                          perceived differently when it is in the garden of
                                                          the Musée Rodin, at the crossing of Boulevard
                                                                                                                    Bibliography
juxtaposing the different sheets and photographs,         Raspail than, as it was during the exhibition             • Françoise Cachin (editor), L’Art du XIXe siècle,
we receive flat images of the sculpture’s overall         organised in 1996, on the road island of the              Paris, Citadelles, 1990
form, which highlights the relationships between          Champs-Élysées.                                           • Catherine Chevillot, La République et ses grands
the full and empty parts of the volume.                   With the pupils, try changing the relative scale of       hommes, Paris, Hachette, RMN, 1990
Identify the sculptor’s favourite point(s) of view        sculptures within their surroundings by enlarging         • Laure de Margerie, Carpeaux, la fièvre créatrice,
(different parts of the body, often the face, the         or reducing its image and pasting it on the same          Paris, Gallimard/RMN, coll. “Découvertes”, 1989
back or particular gestures).                             view of the area.                                         • Hélène Pinet, Rodin, les mains du génie, Paris,
Lighting                                                                                                            Gallimard/RMN, coll. “Découvertes”, 1988
Under an intense source of light, the relationship        Visits to other museums                                   • Anne Pingeot, La sculpture au musée d’Orsay,
between bumps and hollows is hugely dramatised.                                                                     Scala/RMN, Paris, 1995
Light accentuates the sculpture’s form by                 Many museums hold by 19th century sculptors, in           • Anne Pingeot, Philippe Durey, Antoinette Le
contrasting the highlights and shadows.                   particular in Dijon, Lyon, Lille, Nogent-sur-Seine,       Normand-Romain, La Sculpture française au XIXe
Try out the effects of lighting on a volume or on a       Troyes, Amiens…                                           siècle, Paris, RMN, 1986
face. Vary the intensity and direction of light so        Other museums are dedicated to the work of just           • F. Romei et G. Gaudenzi, La sculpture, Paris,
that certain zones are highlighted. The distortions       one artist:                                               Hatier, 1995, “Terre de Sienne”
which can be obtained on the face, are                    • in Paris: Rodin, Bourdelle, Bouchard, Maillol.          • Catherine Chevillot and Nicole Hodcent
reminiscent of those used by Daumier in his               • in the rest of France: Carpeaux in Valenciennes,        (editors), La sculpture dans la ville au XIXe siècle,
caricatures of Parliamentarians.                          David d’Anger in Angers, Augustin Dumont in               TDC, Textes et documents pour la classe, CNDP,
                                                          Semur-en-Auxois, Denys Puech in Rodez.                    n°727-728, 15-31 janvier 1997

Secondary schools
Provide the pupils with the information                   The visit: list of artworks
concerning techniques and artistic movements
provided in the “presentation” section.                   • David d’Angers : Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,
Identify the different places where sculptures may        1831
be found:                                                 • Honoré Daumier : Portraits des Célébrités du
• inside: museums, private houses, town halls and         Juste milieu (Portraits of the Celebrities of the Juste
religious buildings.                                      milieu), 1831
• outside: in streets, squares, gardens, fountains,       • Pierre-Jules Cavelier : Cornélie, mère des
on the façades of buildings and also on bridges, in       Gracques (Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi), 1861
cemeteries and on war memorials.                          • Eugène Guillaume : Les Gracques (The Gracchi),
With the pupils, list the main sculptures to be seen      1847-1848
around the school (in large cities) or in their town.     • Eugène Guillaume : Le Faucheur (The Reaper),
In the case of bronze sculptures, look for the            1849
architect’s or sculptor’s signature, and foundry          • Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux : Ugolin (Ugolino), 1862
mark                                                      • Charles-Henri-Joseph Cordier : Nègre du Soudan
Classify the subjects of these sculptures:                en costume algérien (Sudanese Man in Algerian
• allegories: name them and study the attributes          Costume), Salon de 1857 ; L’Arabe d’El Aghouat en
associated with them. List in a more generic way          burnous (The Arab from El Aghuat Wearing a
the themes of the most common allegories (arts,           Burnoose), 1856-1857 ; La Capresse ou Négresse
virtues, politics…) and the attributes which permit       des Colonies (Woman from the Colonies), 1861
their identification. Are such clues still                • Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux : La Danse (Dance), 1865
immediately understandable today?                         • Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux : Le Prince impérial (The
• people:                                                 Imperial Prince), 1865
Are they real people (writers, musicians,                 • Auguste Rodin : Ugolin (Ugolino), 1882
politicians, scientists…)? If so, name them and find      • Auguste Rodin : Balzac, 1898
out information about their life and work.                • Jules Dalou : Le Grand Paysan (The Large
Are they mythological characters? If so, study the        Peasant), 1889-1899
myths and tales in which they appear.                     • Constantin Meunier : Débardeur du port d’Anvers
At upper secondary level, consider the political or       (Antwerp Harbour Dockers), vers 1899
cultural significance of the choice of represented        • Bernhard Hœtger : La Machine humaine (The
allegories, beginning with this quote from René           Human Machine) 1902
Doumic published in 1896 in La Revue des Deux-            • Jean-Paul Aubé : Monument à Gambetta
Mondes: “We ask what kind of future a city is             (Monument to Gambetta), 1884
preparing for itself, if it adorns its squares with the   • Joseph Bernard : La Danse (Dance), 1912-1913
French Sculpture




                                                                                                                      Visitor’s Sheet
Daumier, Carpeaux, Rodin...
• The visit: the artworks




1. Pierre Jean David, known as David d’Angers             Caricature is a physical revelation of the deepest
(Angers, 1788 - Paris, 1856): Johann Wolfgang von         elements of a models’ personality. On the
Goethe (1749-1832), 1831, monumantal bust,                Museum’s labels, one may read the adjectives
plaster                                                   attributed to each character by Maurice Gobin
Location: ground floor, entrance to the central           when he set up the catalogue of Daumier’s work
aisle, on the right                                       in 1952.
“It is difficult to imagine Goethe in another aspect      Note: the distortions and exaggerations the artist
than the Olympian bust by David d’Angers"                 applied to his models’ features, and also the
Théophile Gautier wrote in his Portraits                  evidence of the modelling process and the colours
contemporains (Contemporary Portraits,                    added to the clay.
Charpentier, 1874).                                       Identify which of the characters reappeared on the
The monumental head is indeed proportional to             lithographs - exhibited opposite the busts - and
the admiration the sculptor had for the great             note the way the artist treated the volumes of the
Romantic German poet. He travelled to Weimar in           faces with a play of light and shadow.
1829 to meet Goethe, and contemplate and study                                                                                                       1

his features before making his portrait. The two          3. Pierre-Jules Cavelier (Paris, 1814 - Paris, 1894):
men developed a genuine friendship, as testified          Cornélie, mère des Gracques (Cornelia, Mother of
by the Carnets (Notebooks) left by David d’Angers.        the Gracchi), 1831, sculpted group, marble
Goethe’s head is powerful, dominated by a                 Location: ground floor, central aisle
prominent forehead and hair that has been
                                                          This work features two Classical heroes as
described as “sparkling”, evocative of his
                                                          children: Caïus and Tiberus Gracchus with their
intellectual radiance.
                                                          mother, Cornelia. She sits calm and dignified,
Goethe was the main representative of the
                                                          exerting full authority over her two children.
Enlightenment in Germany. His glory spread
                                                          Classical tradition often associated self control and
throughout the civilised world of the epoch and
                                                          gravity and severity with the naturally cold aspect
was celebrated throughout the 19th century. As a
                                                          of marble.
universal spirit, he has deliberately been placed at
                                                          The archaeological discoveries of ancient statues,
the entrance to the Musée d’Orsay which is
                                                          unearthed without their original colours,
committed to all the arts of the later half of the
                                                          influenced the purity of Neoclassical works. The
nineteenth century. David d’Angers, whose work                                                                                                       3
                                                          absent gaze gives Cornelia’s face an appearance of
combines Academic tradition with Romantic
                                                          impassivity and distance.
ambition was also heir to the humanist values of
                                                          The subject, related to the civic ideal and Classical
the previous century.
                                                          culture of the time, the careful, quasi-
                                                                                                                  2
Note (from the footbridge to get a better view of         archaeological reconstruction, in particular of the
the sculpture): the impressive head, the                  drapery, and the harmonious composition are
continuous line between the neck and the chin,            absolutely characteristic of a Neoclassical work
the unseeing eyes, the vast and prominent                 conforming to the taste of the time.
forehead - described as being “too Olympian” -
                                                          Note: the pyramidal construction, the different
and the rendering of the hair.
                                                          attitudes of the three characters allowing the
                                                          viewer to read each character’s psychology: the
2. Honoré Daumier (Marseilles, 1808 -
                                                          younger son, Caïus, is full of energy; his elder
Valmondois, Seine-et-Oise, 1879): Portraits des
                                                          brother, Tiberus, is more thoughtful and is shown
Célébrités du Juste Milieu (Portraits of Celebrities of
                                                          with a diploma; Cornelia, who is responsible for
the Juste Milieu), 1831, coloured clay
                                                          them, sits in majesty.
Location: ground floor, gallery 4, Daumier
                                                          Observe the contrast between smooth zones and
Daumier was all three; painter, sculptor and              the drapery, in particular between young Caïus’s
draughtsman. He executed these thirty six                 body and the folds surrounding him. Note the
coloured clay busts following commissions for             variety in the rendering of the curly or straight
lithographs from Charles Philipon, to be published        hair: Cornelia’s ringlets are no doubt a concession
in the satirical newspapers the Charivari and the         to the fashionable hairstyles of the 19th century.      4
Caricature of which Philipon was the director.
                                                          See also: Eugène Guillaume (1822-1905):
Most of the busts represent parliamentarians                                                                      after betraying the Gibelins’ party which had
                                                          Les Gracques (The Gracchi), 1847-48, double bust,
elected to the Chambre des députés at the                                                                         supported the Emperor in his struggle against the
                                                          bronze
beginning of the July Monarchy and were mostly                                                                    Pope, who was supported by the Guelfi, Ugolino
chosen from among the Orleanist majority who                                                                      was gaoled in a tower. His rival, the archbishop
                                                          4. Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (Valenciennes, 1827 -
supported or took part in Louis-Philippe’s                                                                        d’Ubaldini, condemned him to starve in gaol.
                                                          Courbevoie, 1875): Ugolin (Ugolino), 1862,
governments. One of the busts represents                                                                          According to the legend, Ugolino yielded after
                                                          sculpted group, bronze
Daumier’s patron Philipon, himself. These busts                                                                   having eaten his sons and nephews who shared
                                                          Location: ground floor, middle of the central aisle
are rumoured to have been modelled in the lower                                                                   his cell.
chamber but it is more likely that Daumier only           Carpeaux found inspiration in Canto XXXIII of           Carpeaux created this sculpted group in 1857 at
observed the parliamentarians there. His                  Dante’s Divine Comedy which told of the meeting         the end of his sojourn in the Villa Médici. The
prodigious memory allowed him to accurately               in hell of Ugolino della Gherardesca with Dante,        artist did not respect the academic standard which
summarise the personality he wished to                    led by Virgil. The writer described the punishment      imposed the portrayal of just one or two figures
characterise later in his studio.                         the count was subjected to. In 13th century Pisa,       and a subject taken either from Antiquity or the



                                                                                                                  1. Pierre Jean David dit David d’Angers : Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
                                                                                                                     (1749-1832), 1831, bust, plaster
                                                                                                                  2. Honoré Daumier : Portraits des Célébrités du Juste Milieu, 1831,
                                                                                                                     coloured clay
                                                                                                                  3. Pierre-Jules Cavelier : Cornélie, mère des Gracques, 1861,
                                                                                                                     sculpted group, marble
                                                                                                                  4. Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux : Ugolin, 1862, sculpted group, bronze
Bible. Ignoring reproaches, he chose, as he wrote       6. Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (Valenciennes, 1827 -
in a letter to a friend, to “express the most violent   Courbevoie, 1875): La Danse (Dance), 1865,
passions with the most delicate tenderness”.            sculpted group, Échaillon stone
                                                        Location: ground floor, end of the central aisle, to
Observe the volume in the round, the pyramidal
                                                        the left
composition. Note that each child represents a
stage towards death. Observe the expression of          This high relief is an example of a work made by
pain and anguish of the father: the face, the tense     public commission for a public building. Garnier,
hands and feet, the nervous modelling of the body       the architect of the Paris Opéra, had asked Prix de
and in particular of the back, testifying to            Rome laureates to embellish the façade of his
Carpeaux’s close study of the antique Laocoon by        building with sculptures. The commission
Michael-Angelo and of Géricault. Compare the            specified the size and composition of the sculpted
position of the bodies with the terracotta sketch on    group which was to consist of a central figure
which the more rigid drapery, traces of the artist’s    flanked by two allegorical figures. Only Carpeaux
fingers and of his tools may be observed.               did not respect its terms, but Garnier, aware of
                                                        Carpeaux’s genius, accepted his project which
5. Charles-Henri-Joseph Cordier (Cambrai, 1827 -        included seven figures.                                 5
Algiers, 1905): Nègre du Soudan en costume              The subject is that of a dance bacchanal.
algérien (Sudanese Man in Algerian Costume),            Priestesses of the god Bacchus dance a wild
1857 Salon ; L’Arabe d’El Aghouat en burnous            farandole around a winged genius who seems to
(Arab from El Aghuat Wearing a Burnoose), 1856-         surge from the wall and fly into the air. All the
57 ; La Capresse or Négresse des Colonies (Woman        lines, the curves of the bodies and arms, the
from the Colonies), 1861                                diagonals of the legs, contribute in creating an
Location: ground floor, end of the central aisle        effect of upward movement and unbridled rhythm.
                                                        When it was unveiled, the sculpture caused a
Materials: bronze, onyx extracted from a quarry in
                                                        scandal. In an act of vandalism, a bottle of ink was
El Aghuat (Algeria) and porphyry piedouches
                                                        thrown at the female figures. Some critics of the
(pedestals) from the Vosges for the first two; onyx,
                                                        time saw in it “a dishevelled group, with lascivious
gilded bronze with patina and pink marble
                                                        movements, panting nudity…”, symbolising
piedouche for the third.
                                                        “imperial celebration”. But with the war of 1870,
These polychrome sculptures tell of Cordier’s           the scandal was forgotten and when the Opéra
realist and ethnographic tendencies.                    was inaugurated in 1875, there is no question of
Commissioned by the Muséum d’histoire                   removing the sculpture. Carpeaux died on October
naturelle, Cordier sculpted a series of busts           12, 1875.                                               6
intended to illustrate the “History of Races” for the   The group on show in the museum is the much
anthropology gallery. The sculptor went on              damaged original. It is being sheltered here from
assignment to Algeria and Greece to study human         the weather and pollution and has been replaced
types, whom it was feared were “on the verge of         at the Opéra by a copy made by Paul Belmondo
dissipating into a sole people”. The term “race”, as    (the son of the actor) in 1964.
it was commonly used in the 19th century, meant
                                                        Observe the three superimposed stones of this
simply a human group sharing common
                                                        high relief. Note the expressions of the faces, the
characteristics.
                                                        smiles of the bacchantes, the deep shadow of the
Cordier’s approach was related to the Orientalist
                                                        eyes that animates the gaze.
movement stimulated by 19th century colonial
                                                        The work of cutting the stone using the pointing
conquests and committed to realism. Théophile
                                                        technique was made by technical assistants (traces
Gautier admired the accuracy and realistic
                                                        are still visible on the legs at the bottom right of
rendering of these figures: “the black bronze head
                                                        the sculpture).
reproduces perfectly the traits and colour of the
original […].”
                                                        7. Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (Valenciennes, 1827 -
Sculptors began to reuse colour under the Second
                                                        Courbevoie, 1875): Le Prince impérial (The
Empire thanks to both the exhumation of antique
                                                        Imperial Prince), 1865, marble                          7
sculptures on which there remained traces of
                                                        Location: ground floor, at the end of the central
paint and the interest in medieval art. For these
                                                        aisle, on the left
sculptures, Cordier chose onyx extracted from                                                                   down to street level). Alongside the Prince
Algerian quarries, exploited by France following        Carpeaux was working on the restoration of the          Carpeaux also represented Néro, the Emperor’s
colonisation. The nuances of this material allowed      Pavillon de Flore when the imperial couple              favourite dog. The prince affectionately pats it
him to evoke the colourful costumes he had seen         (Napoleon III and Eugénie) commissioned him to          with his left hand, while the animal confidently
during his sojourn.                                     make a portrait of their child. The artist knew the     turns its head towards its young master. This
                                                        eight year old Imperial Prince well as he taught        official portrait not only endeavours to render the
Note: the assemblage in several parts of L’Arabe
                                                        him the art of drawing and modelling.                   physical characteristics of the child, it is also
d’El Aghouat en burnous: the bust stands on little
                                                        This full-length figure represents him in a casual      intended to move the public. It is part of the
pedestals in coloured marble (the piedouches),
                                                        pose, with clothes in the fashion of his time: velvet   propaganda which favoured the continuity of a
then the bronze mask is attached to the bust, the
                                                        jacket and baggy trousers, necktie and buckled          regime embodied by the imperial child – a regime
front part of the Burnoose is yet another part, and
                                                        shoes. Remarking on the absence of attributes           under threat by both Republicans and
finally, the skull cap is attached at the back.
                                                        hinting of his future power, someone said: “the         Monarchists. The sculpture’s popularity was such
                                                        Prince has come down to the square” (has come           that the image survived right through to the



                                                                                                                5. Charles-Henri-Joseph Cordier : Nègre du Soudan en costume
                                                                                                                   algérien, 1857 Salon
                                                                                                                6. Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux : La Danse, 1865, sculpted group,
                                                                                                                   Échaillon stone
                                                                                                                7. Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux : Le Prince impérial, 1865, marble
Second Empire in numerous editions in all sizes         The Société des Gens de Lettres decided to refuse
and materials, under the depoliticised title of Child   what it considered as a preparatory work in which
With Dog.                                               they did not recognise Balzac’s image. The project
                                                        was then entrusted to Alexandre Falguière (1831-
Note: the casual pose, the clothes, the fineness of
                                                        1900) whose statue is still to be seen avenue de
the features of the child’s face, the rendering of
                                                        Friedman. Rodin, misunderstood by his
the hair. Observe the use of the dog, necessary to
                                                        contemporaries, took the artwork back to his
the balance of the statue, but also reinforcing the
                                                        studio in Meudon. In 1939 at last, Rodin’s statue,
impression of realism and the affectionate attitude
                                                        cast in bronze, was erected on the boulevard
of the Prince, note an irregularity in the marble
                                                        Raspail in Paris.
corresponding to a vein in Néro’s throat.
Compare with the plaster model in a showcase            Note the monolithic aspect of the sculpture that
near gallery 22.                                        shocked visitors to the Salon.                          8

                                                        Note the realism of the dressing gown, the lines
8. Auguste Rodin (Paris, 1840 - Meudon, 1917):          that lead the viewer’s gaze towards the head,
Ugolin (Ugolino), 1882, plaster                         symbolising the genius of the writer. Observe the
Location: middle level, last terrace                    exaggeration of the facial features, the deep
                                                        shadows.
Rodin, like Carpeaux, was inspired by the Divine
Comedy for this Ugolino. Yet he chose another
                                                        10. Jules Dalou (Paris, 1838 - Paris, 1902):
moment in the drama illustrating Dante’s line:
                                                        Le Grand Paysan (The Large Peasant), 1898-1899
“Already blind, to groping over each: and three
                                                        Location: middle level, gallery 56
days called them after they were dead. […] Then
hunger did what sorrow could not do”. Ugolino           This sculpture, made towards the end of the 19th
roved like an animal moved by his sole instinct.        century, was intended to be to a Monument to
The blind man is here deprived of all human             Work in which the artist wanted to exalt the
dignity and reduced to the state of a wild beast.       worker’s status. Jules Dalou, a committed
Unlike Carpeaux who had chosen a pyramidal              Republican, had prepared many studies of workers
composition, Rodin organised the characters             for this piece, which was never completed.
around a central void to better signify the drama of    This Large Peasant is an example of the search for
starvation that is being played out. The man’s          a truthful way of depicting peasants in a simple
position, kneeling, is reminiscent of that of the       style devoid of grandiloquence. Jules Dalou broke
Roman she-wolf protecting abandoned children            with the previous classical conventions which had       9                                     10
and highlights the contrast that here the father,       insisted in placing the peasants in a mythological
turned animal is unable to save his children.           or allegorical context. The peasant, legs planted, is
                                                        looking down at the earth from above, his sleeves
Note: the dislocated bodies of the children, the
                                                        are rolled back, he is about to set about his work
deformation of their limbs, feet and hands, the
                                                        “the forehead lowered, like that of a ploughing
bestial face of the father. Rodin used a particular
                                                        ox”.
technique known as assemblage, consisting in
                                                        This figured embodied hard peasant labour in a
making casts of his sculptures and combining the
                                                        fresh way whilst, in this era of industrial
different fragments to make new compositions.
                                                        revolution, other artists were working on
The artist connected the different elements of this
                                                        symbolising the menial labour of factory workers.
sculpted group with a play on drapery.
Pick out the Ugolino group on the left-hand door
                                                        11. Jean-Paul Aubé (Longwy, 1837 - 1916):
of the Gates to Hell and observe the differences in
                                                        Monument à Gambetta (Monument to Gambetta),
their poses.
                                                        plaster, 1884, architect Louis-Charles Boileau
                                                        Location: middle level, former lounge of the Hôtel
9. Auguste Rodin (Paris, 1840 - Meudon, 1917):
                                                        d’Orsay, gallery 52, Art and décor of the Third
Balzac, 1898, plaster
                                                        Republic
Location: middle level, last terrace
                                                        A subscription was opened on the day following          11
This monument, memorial to the great writer, was
                                                        Gambetta’s funeral to erect a public monument to
commissioned in 1891 from Rodin by Zola, who
                                                        the glory of the great man. The sculpture strove to     arm seems to gesture towards the border. Above
was then chairman of the Société des Gens de
                                                        highlight his qualities both as a great Frenchman       him, a worker, rifle in hand, is mesmerized by the
Lettres. Rodin worked extremely hard at this
                                                        and a great Republican at a time when the               orator’s speech.
project which he was later to consider as his
                                                        Republic was still in a phase of consolidating its      The 27-metre high monument was erected in the
masterpiece and delivered the statue long after the
                                                        power. First and foremost, the artwork is an            Cour Napoléon in the Louvre (approximately
deadline imposed by the committee had expired. It
                                                        exaltation of the patriot who led the struggle          where the pyramid now stands) and inaugurated
caused a scandal when it was exhibited at the
                                                        against the Prussian invader in the 1870-71 war.        on July 14, 1888. The bronze elements were taken
Salon national des Beaux-Arts in 1898. Its symbolic
                                                        Gambetta the Republican was victorious over his         off and melted by the Vichy government.
power was not understood by the public who
                                                        monarchist adversaries in the political struggles of    Fragments of the central group were installed in
considered it to be a provocation. They were
                                                        the following years and the sculpture testifies to      1982, on the occasion of the centenary of Léon
shocked by Balzac’s dressing gown, and by the
                                                        his renowned oratory skills.                            Gambetta’s death in the garden located behind the
monumentality and monolithic aspect of the
                                                        He is delivering a speech, the text of which is         town hall of the 20th arrondissement, where he had
sculpture. Critics described it as “an unbalanced
                                                        engraved above his head, exhorting citizens to          been mayor.
dolmen” or “an owl’s head”.
                                                        defend their national territory while his extended



                                                                                                                8.    Auguste Rodin : Ugolin, 1882, plaster
                                                                                                                9.    Auguste Rodin : Balzac, 1898, plaster
                                                                                                                10.   Jules Dalou : Le Grand Paysan, 1898-1899
                                                                                                                11.   Jean-Paul Aubé : Monument à Gambetta, plaster, 1884,
                                                                                                                      architect Louis-Charles Boileau
                                                                                                                Musée d’Orsay
                                                                                                                Service culturel
                                                                                                                text: Ch. Sniter, N. Hodcent and J. Bolloch
                                                                                                                translation: F. Troupenat and E. Hinton Simoneau
                                                                                                                graphism design and printing :
                                                                                                                Musée d’Orsay, Paris 2005




Note Gambetta’s place in relation to the plinth, at
the side, rather than on top. Among the allegorical
figures are “Human Rights” at the top of the
monument, to the side, the figure of “Strength”
leaning on a fasces symbolising “Unity”, the figure
of “Truth”, holding a mirror, and above Gambetta,
the allegorical representation of the genius which
inspired him. A cartouche specifies the
circumstances of the subscription, the other
                                                      1
inscriptions being four excerpts from Gambetta’s
speeches. Cherubs on both sides of the dedication
                                                      which was realised by a technical assistant who
plate “To L. Gambetta, the Fatherland and the
                                                      worked under the supervision of the artist who
Republic” hold shields with the interlaced letters
                                                      was, by then, ill.
RF.
                                                      13. Émile-Antoine Bourdelle (Montauban, 1861 –
                                                      Le Vésinet, 1929): Héraklès tue les oiseaux du lac
12. Joseph Bernard (Vienne 1866 – Boulogne-sur-
                                                      Stymphale (Heracles Killing the Birds on the
Seine, 1931): La Danse (Dance), 1912-1913, marble
                                                      Stymphalian Marshes), 1909
frieze
                                                      Location: middle level, Lille terrace, opposite
Location: middle level, Lille terrace, in front of
                                                      gallery 69
gallery 72
                                                      From the 1900’s onwards, Bourdelle took
This bas-relief is an example of a private
                                                      inspiration from mythological tales and figures
commission. It was made for the music salon of
                                                      such as Penelope, Apollo and the centaur. With
Paul Nocard’s mansion in Neuilly. Its shape is
                                                      one of the episodes of the twelve Labours of
adapted to the room, which included a small
                                                      Hercules (Heracles in Greek), he portrayed the
amphitheatre for the musicians. Initially
                                                      hero’s victory over monsters: Eurystheus had
comprising of three panels, two small linking                                                                   13
                                                      asked Heracles to destroy man-eating birds. The
stones were added later to adapt the sculpture to a
                                                      hero’s pose is off balance, as he shoots his arrows
new location.
                                                      in a powerful and tense movement. When it was
Groups of characters, musicians and dancers, give
                                                      presented at the Salon in 1910, the sculpture
the surface its rhythm with children at the bottom
                                                      caused a sensation, “the incredibly bold movement
mimicking the gestures of the adults. Joseph
                                                      of this athlete half-kneeling, balanced in mid-air,
Bernard alternated immobile figures with others
                                                      foot braced against a rock…”. The composition of
that appear frozen in suspended movement who
                                                      this piece perfectly demonstrates Bourdelle’s
all converge on the central couple who seem to be
                                                      mastery of the distribution of space and mass. To
carried off into a whirl. Rather than meeting
                                                      him this was a crucial piece, and he asked his
standards of realism the artist was concerned with
                                                      teacher, Auguste Rodin, to come and see “one of
rhythm and the decorative qualities in the
                                                      his most important works”.
combination of forms. The relief is shallow, yet he
endeavoured to create an illusion of depth through    Note: the expression of the hero’s strength: the
the juxtaposition of the figures. Such illusions      muscular tension, the exaggeration, the leaning
sometimes led him to make distortions, in             points of the feet, the sharp edges, the play of
particular in the group of cymbal players in the      spaces, the modelling of the limbs, the golden
curved part to the left of the frieze.                colour of the bronze. Identify the cartouches
In this work Bernard adopted the technique of         (plaques) representing other episodes of the
direct cutting, also used by other sculptors at the   labours: Nemee’s lion and Lerne’s Hydra and the
end of the century. In cutting the material himself   letters A.B. that constituted the artist’s monogram.
he had no need of technical assistants nor any                                                                  14
process of mechanical reproduction after a plaster    14. Edgar Degas (Paris, 1834 – Paris, 1917):
model. After many preparatory sketches, he            La Petite danseuse de quatorze ans (The Little            bronze, executed posthumously after a wax
sketched out the suggestion of forms on the           Dancer), 1878-1881                                        original now located in the United States. The wax
marble with charcoal and started cutting the          Location: Galerie des Hauteurs, gallery 31                sculpture includes doll’s hair, a corselet and
rough shapes using punches and chisels before                                                                   genuine dancing shoes that give it “terrible
                                                      First and foremost a painter, Edgar Degas
working for a more accurate finish.                                                                             realness”.
                                                      nevertheless made close to 150 sculptures. To him
Note: the bas relief and quasi-absence of shadows.                                                              Never, before this work, had such materials been
                                                      these were “exercises” allowing a meticulous
Identify the references to Antiquity: the faces                                                                 incorporated into sculpture and it caused genuine
                                                      study of the movements of both horses and
inspired by Greek art, the drapery reminiscent of                                                               uneasiness amongst the public of the time. Critics
                                                      dancers; tools to enable him to endow his
Roman sarcophagi. Observe the modulations in                                                                    complained of “its bestial effrontery” and “its
                                                      paintings with more life and expression. Only 75 of
the rhythm of figures (immobility/movement) and                                                                 forehead, like its lips, marked by a profoundly
                                                      these clay and wax models survived him. Yet The
the contrast in the treatment of surfaces                                                                       vicious character”.
                                                      Little Dancer is quite different from these
(smooth/worked). Note the graphic treatment of        numerous, small studies of dancing exercises. The         Note: the diverse materials of the sculpture:
the drapery, hair and foliage.                        artist worked at it for three years before exhibiting     bronze, the cloth tutu, pink satin ribbon and
Note the two small reliefs added in 1918 that make    it, in 1881, at the sixth impressionist exhibition. Its   wooden base, and the nuances of the bronze
the piece a continuous frieze. Observe the            realism is striking, the dancer is wearing a net          (black patina for the hair, blond for the corsage,
differences in the quality of the marble (whiter,     tutu and her hair is tied with a real satin ribbon.       pink for the shoes).
more opaque) and the difference in the carving        The piece exhibited at the Musée d’Orsay is a



                                                                                                                12. Joseph Bernard : La Danse, 1912-1913, marble frieze
                                                                                                                13. Emile-Antoine Bourdelle : Héraklès tue les oiseaux du lac
                                                                                                                    Stymphale, 1909
                                                                                                                14. Edgar Degas : La Petite danseuse de quatorze ans, 1878-1881