"Turtle - Antoine-louis Barye (1796-1875)"Bronze with an brownish-gold patina
Cast by BARBEDIENNE Paris
length 13,4 cm
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Antoine-Louis Barye (1796-1875) is a French sculptor, renowned for his animal sculptures. His practice of sketching done in a natural environment, according to the animals of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, led him little by little to practice painting as well. Placed very early at Fourier, a steel engraver who makes matrices designed to execute the metal parts of the uniforms of the Grande Armée, he learns all the trades of metal processing and becomes an outstanding chiseller. He entered the School of Fine Arts in Paris in 1818, where he received a classical training in the studio of the sculptor François-Joseph Bosio and the painter Antoine-Jean Gros. He obtains in 1820, the second prize of Rome sculpture for his Cain cursed by God. It was in 1831 that Barye made himself known to the public by exhibiting at the Salon the Tiger devouring a gavial, tormented and expressive work, which immediately classed as the first romantic sculptor, alter ego of Eugène Delacroix in painting, and causing admiration of criticism. He continues to produce masterpieces, often small, that will enrich the collections of amateur cabinets on both sides of the Atlantic. In 1833, Barye exhibited his Lion to the Serpent at the Salon, an order from the King for the Tuileries Garden, an allegory of the monarchy crushing sedition, three years after the July Revolution. The critics are enthusiastic but it is not necessarily the case of his colleagues. In complete rupture with the adherents of academicism which reign then on the Institute, Barye opens a foundry and diffuses itself its production, by using the modern techniques of its time. Like the romantic artists of his time, Barye appreciates exoticism and the Middle Ages. He will prefer bronze to marble, which he considers too cold. Barye's style began in 1843. He gave his human figures inspired by Greek models, such as the bronze group of Theseus and the centaur Biénor, an energy and a movement peculiar to the romantic vision. His republican ideas did not prevent him from associating himself with Ferdinand-Philippe d'Orleans, for whom he executed a table meal, a masterpiece of the decorative arts of that time. He became one of the favorite sculptors of Napoleon III, under whose reign he made monumental works such as Peace, Strength, War and Order for the decoration of the new Louvre Palace and an equestrian statue of the Emperor for the windows of the Louvre. Despite his commercial activity and his practice of art that confuse members of the Institute, they finally welcome him in their midst in 1868, and the artist knows ease and recognition during the last ten years of his life.