Gloria Victis (sculpture)
A casting in Washington, DC
Gloria Victis ("glory to the vanquished") is a sculpture by Antonin Mercié. Created in 1874, the sculpture as pictured is seen at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Another copy of the statue can be found in Bordeaux, France, where it faces Saint André's Cathedral. A third copy can be found at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, Denmark, where the statue overlooks the museum's Winter Garden. Mercié designed this sculpture following France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. He intended to honor those French soldiers who had fallen in the conflict, especially his friend, the artist Henri Regnault (1843–1871). Upon France's defeat, Mercié changed the hero's head from lifted to fallen.
A winged female allegorical image of Fame (or of Hope) carries to glory a dying French hero, his broken sword a sign of defeat. Mercié's original plaster sculpture won a medal at the 1874 Paris Salon. Bronze copies were cast in different sizes by the great foundry of Ferdinand Barbedienne.
"We have been beaten like wheat in a barn, and we shouted: 'Glory to the losers' – And along comes some sort of bastard artist, the pupil of a sexless school, to put up the image of our cowardice."
- Agen, jardin du Lycée Palissy (stolen in September 2008)
- Bordeaux, place Jean-Moulin
- Châlons-en-Champagne, place de la Libération
- Cholet, place de la République
- Niort, place de Strasbourg
- Paris, Petit Palais
- Saint-Denis, Musée d’art et d’histoire
Ferdinand Barbedienne produced several bronze versions in seven different sizes. Examples can be found at:
- Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines de l'Université de Clermont-Ferrand II. Nouvelle série (in French). Presses Univ. Blaise-Pascal. p. 563. ISSN 0397-3352.
[...] transmettant ce message salutaire que leur défaite ne retire rien aux vaincus de leur droit à l'immortalité
- Thurber, T. Barton (2008). European Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Museum of Art. Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-58465-738-5.
[...] greeted with acclaim and perceived by the public as a response to France's humiliating defeat by Germany
- McWilliam, Neil. Monumental Intolerance: Jean Baffier, a Nationalist Sculptor in Fin-de-Siècle France. Penn State Press. pp. 83–84. ISBN 0-271-04394-6.
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