Genius of the Dance

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 556

Carpeaux’s high relief on the façade of the Opéra Garnier in Paris, with its naturalistic nudes embodying Dance, is one of the great monuments of Second Empire style. The limestone group was vilified and even splattered with ink but also found admirers, as witness the many bronze reductions of the crowning figure, an inspired teenager who conducts the rhythms of the dancers. This cast, with its very evident seams, is a chef modèle, which was easily disassembled and its separate parts then served for the casting of more elegantly assembled and finished commercial editions.

Genius of the Dance, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (French, Valenciennes 1827–1875 Courbevoie), Bronze, French, Paris

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