Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875) Christ... - Lot 30 - Crait + Müller

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Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875) Christ... - Lot 30 - Crait + Müller
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875)
Christ on the Cross, 1869
Bronze proof Bronze: 31 x 20 x 5.5 cm
Wooden cross: 53 x 24 cm

Provenance: France, private collection

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux entered the studio of François Rude, a romantic sculptor at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1844. In 1854, he received the Prix de Rome for Hector imploring the gods for his son Astya-nax. A year later, in Rome, he studied Michelangelo and Raphael. From his stay at the Villa Medici, he sent one of his most famous groups to the Salon in 1862: Ugolin surrounded by his four children. Although Carpeaux referred to Dante and ancient mythology in many of his works, religion remained a constant in his life and regularly recurred in the subjects of his sculptures.

Upon his return to France, he received numerous imperial commissions, including La Danse, in 1869, for the façade of the Opéra Garnier. He presented a monumental ver- sion of Ugolin at the 1867 World's Fair, now in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. His last major commission, the Four Parts of the World for the Fountain of the Observatory, was slowed down by illness and the Franco-Prussian war, but the bronze edition was completed in 1874, a year before his death.

"Yes, tender Amélie, charming fiancée, you will support me, you will inspire me to make a Christ on the Cross. I vow to do so today. This great image of resignation will make me think like Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, and their noble accents will come to my aid to accomplish this work that I am dedicating to you in advance. "1

In March 1869, Carpeaux worked on Christ on the Cross, a work he intended for his future wife, although she had initially resisted, wishing to turn to the orders.

A study sheet preserved in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Valenciennes attests to the research carried out by the sculptor on the figure of the suffering Christ. In the continuity of sculptors such as his master François Rude, or Pierre Puget (1620-1694) and Auguste Préault (1809-1879), Carpeaux wishes to translate with strength and expression the feeling of suffering and pain of Christ. However, the achievements of the sculptors often remain misunderstood, the faithful preferring a more idealized representation, with a lesser intensity and the orders of Crucifixes become rarer.

The original plaster of Christ offered by Carpeaux to his wife is now kept in the Petit Palais (Paris), another plaster in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Valenciennes, and a terracotta in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nice. A few silver and bronze proofs were made in Carpeaux's workshop: a bronze proof is mentioned in the "Carpeaux" sale in 1894 and another in a Parisian collection. The bronze enlargement of Christ en Croix was made by Carpeaux in 1874 for the church of Notre-Dame d'Auteuil and for the chapel of the hospital in Valenciennes, his native town.


1. Michel Poletti, Alain Richarme, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux sculpteur - Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre édité, Paris, Les Éditions de l'Amateur, 2003, p. 7


Related literature :
- Sur les traces de J.B. Carpeaux, cat. exp. (Paris: Grand-Palais, March 11-May 5, 1975), Paris, Éditions des musées nationaux, 1975.
- Claude Fournet, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux 1827- 1875: collection du musée des beaux-arts, Nice, Direction des musées de Nice, 1989.
- Patrick Ramade, Laure de Marguerie, Carpeaux peintre, cat. exp., Valenciennes, musée des Beaux- Arts (8 October 1999 - 3 January 2000); Paris, musée d'Orsay (24 January - 2 April 2000); Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum (21 April - 27 August 2000), Paris, édi- tions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1999.
- Michel Poletti, Alain Richarme, Jean-Baptiste Car- peaux sculpteur - Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre éditée, Paris, Les Éditions de l'Amateur, 2003 (reprint pp. 76-77. ref. SE 2).
- James David Draper, Édouard Papet, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827 - 1875), Un sculpteur pour l'Empire, cat. exp., New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (March 10 - May 26, 2014); Paris, Musée d'Orsay (June 24- September 28, 2014), Paris, Gallimard, 2014.
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