CARPEAUX, Jean-Baptiste
(b. 1827, Valenciennes, d. 1875, Courbevoie)


French sculptor. He was a pupil of Rude, whose influence he combined with the Romanticism of Barye; he was also a precursor of Rodin and Medardo Rosso in the importance he attached to chiaroscuro in sculpture. He went to Italy in 1854 and made his name with a dramatic statue of Ugolino, before returning to Paris in 1862. His most famous works were a pediment for the Pavilion de Flore of the Louvre, begun in 1863, and the Dance, begun in 1865 for the new Opera House in Paris. This caused a great sensation, and was attacked on moral grounds - it was even suggested that the group should be removed. The outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 prevented this, but the original is now in the Musée d'Orsay and has been replaced by a copy on the Opera. A variant of the principal figure is now in Detroit.

Carpeaux worked in England in 1871, to avoid the Commune. His last years were clouded by persecution mania and he died of cancer at 48. He was a painter as well as sculptor, and his native Valenciennes has a museum of his works.

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