Illustration of Carpeaux by Étienne Bocourt in the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, after his death. His Flore is below him, and other work above
11 May 1827|
|Died||12 October 1875
|Known for||Sculpture, painting|
Born in Valenciennes, Nord, son of a mason, his early studies were under François Rude. Carpeaux entered the École des Beaux-Arts in 1844 and won the Prix de Rome in 1854, and moving to Rome to find inspiration, he there studied the works of Michelangelo, Donatello and Verrocchio. Staying in Rome from 1854 to 1861, he obtained a taste for movement and spontaneity, which he joined with the great principles of baroque art. Carpeaux sought real life subjects in the streets and broke with the classical tradition.
While a student in Rome, Carpeaux submitted a plaster version of Pêcheur napolitain à la coquille, the Neapolitan Fisherboy, to the French Academy. He carved the marble version several years later, showing it in the Salon exhibition of 1863. It was purchased for Napoleon III's empress, Eugénie. The statue of the young smiling boy was very popular, and Carpeaux created a number of reproductions and variations in marble and bronze. There is a copy, for instance, in the Samuel H. Kress Collection in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.. Some years later, he carved the Girl with a Shell, a very similar study.
In 1861 he made a bust of Princess Mathilde, and this later brought him several commissions from Napoleon III. Then in 1866 he established his own atelier in order to reproduce and make work on a grander scale. He employed his brother as the sales manager and made a calculated effort to produce work that would appeal to a larger audience.
- Ugolin et ses fils (Ugolino and his sons) (1861; Metropolitan Museum of Art) with versions in other museums including the Musée d'Orsay, Paris.
- The Dance, commissioned for the Opera Garnier in 1869, featuring several nude figures in a wild and boisterous dance, criticized as an offense to common decency
- Jeune pêcheur à la coquille (Neapolitan Fisherboy) (Musée du Louvre, Paris)
- Girl with Shell
- Antoine Watteau monument, Valenciennes
- Flora and bas-reliefs for the southern facade of the Pavillon de Flore, Palais du Louvre, for architect Hector Lefuel, 1865
- The multifigure allegorical group on the top of the City Hall of his home town, Valenciennes, 1860–1873
- Fontaine de l'Observatoire, also known as the Carpeaux Fountain, south of the Jardin du Luxembourg. Partly complete at his death, Carpeaux finished the terrestrial globe with the cardinal points represented by the four figures of Asia (East), Europe (North), America (West) and Africa (South).
The Seasons turning the celestial Sphere for the Fountain of the Observatory, Jardin du Luxembourg
La Danse (The Dance), for the Opera Garnier, heavily criticized as being indecent
Ugolino and his sons, 1857–60. Photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
|Carpeaux's Dance, Smarthistory|
- Frusco, Peter, Janson, H.W., The Romantics to Rodin, George Braziller, Inc., 1980
- See the article by Elizabeth McGrath in The Slave in European Art: From Renaissance Trophy to Abolitionist Emblem, ed Elizabeth Mcgrath and Jean Michel Massing, London (The Warburg Institute) 2012
- "Carpeaux's Dance". Smarthistory at Khan Academy. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux.|
- A page from insecula.com listing more views of Carpeaux's works (it may be necessary to close an advertising window to view this page)
- A page analysing Carpeaux's Ugolino, with numerous illustrations
- Europe in the age of enlightenment and revolution, a catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on Carpeaux (see index)