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The Fisherwoman

Ugolino and His Sons

Young girl

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (May 11, 1827 – October 12, 1875) was a French sculptor and painter.

Born in Valenciennes, Nord, son of a mason, his early studies were under François Rude. Carpeaux entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1844 and won the Prix de Rome in 1854, and moving to Rome to find inspiration, he there studied the works of Michelangelo, Donatello and Verrocchio. Staying in Rome from 1854 to 1861, he obtained a taste for movement and spontaneity, which he joined with the great principles of baroque art. Carpeaux sought real life subjects in the streets and broke with the classical tradition.

While a student in Rome, Carpeaux submitted a plaster version of Pêcheur napolitain à la coquille, the Neapolitan Fisherboy, to the French Academy. He carved the marble version several years later, showing it in the Salon exhibition of 1863. It was purchased for Napoleon III's empress, Eugènie. The statue of the young smiling boy was very popular, and Carpeaux created a number of reproductions and variations in marble and bronze. There is a copy, for instance, in the Samuel H. Kress Collection in the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.. Some years later, he carved the Girl with a Shell, a very similar study.
La Danse (The Dance), for the Opera Garnier, heavily criticized as being indecent

In 1861 he made a bust of Princess Mathilde, and this later brought him several commissions from Napoleon III.

Among his students were Jules Dalou, Jean-Louis Forain and the American sculptor Olin Levi Warner. Carpeaux died at age 48 in Courbevoie.


* Ugolin et ses fils (Ugolino and his Sons) (1861, in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art)[1] with versions in other museums including the Musée d'Orsay
* The Dance, commissioned for the Opera Garnier in 1869, featuring several nude figures in a wild and boisterous dance, criticized as an offense to common decency
* Jeune pêcheur à la coquille (Neapolitan Fisherboy) - in the Louvre, Paris [2]
* Girl with Shell
* Antoine Watteau monument, Valenciennes
* Flora and bas-reliefs for the southern facade of the Pavillon de Flore, Palais du Louvre, for architect Hector Lefuel, 1865
* The multifigure allegorical group on the top of the City Hall of his home town, Valenciennes, 1860–1873
* Fontaine de l'Observatoire, also known as the Carpeaux Fountain, south of the Jardin du Luxembourg. Partly complete at his death, Carpeaux finished the terrestrial globe and the four figures of Asia, Europe, America and Africa

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