George Grey Barnard (American, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 1863–1938 New York)
1888; carved 1892–94
101 x 102 x 48 in. (256.5 x 259.1 x 121.9 cm)
Gift of Alfred Corning Clark, 1896
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 700
While living in Paris, Barnard labored on this work— his most famous—for over six years. After the single block of marble was roughed out in Italy, Barnard finished carving the sculpture himself. In 1894, he exhibited it in Paris under the title Je sens deux hommes en moi [I sense two men in myself ]. While the symbolism of the group eludes definitive interpretation, Barnard used sculpture to explore all aspects of the human condition; here, the figures are treated dramatically in order to evoke the inner life of man. The batlike creature on the left arm of the lower figure may refer to the darkness in which man’s baser nature is mired.