Genius of the Dance

Artist: Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (French, Valenciennes 1827–1875 Courbevoie)

Date: 1864

Culture: French, Paris

Medium: Bronze

Dimensions: 21 11/16 x 9 1/2 in. (55.1 x 24.1 cm)

Classification: Sculpture-Bronze

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1970

Accession Number: 1970.171


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.