Friday, September 23, 2016

Génius of Arts, by Antonin Mercié

In many countries, September is the period when children go back to school...  Today's beautiful sculpture aims to encourage them to study the arts, with Antonin Mercié 'Génie des Arts' large haut-relief, visible at the Guichet du Louvre in Paris, facing the river Seine.

Génie, in terms of sculpture, or painting, describes a kid with wings, in this case he is sitting on the Pegasus winged horse. Sometimes the feet are covered with foliage ('rinceaux', in French).

This sculpture, made in 1877, replaced a Napoleon III sculpture from the sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye. (There is a similar sculpture on the Jules Michelet tomb, visible at the Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris). It is made in hammered copper.

Antonin Mercié (1845-1916) was a famous French sculptor, who received the Prix de Rome in 1868 (when he was 23 years old!). He made a famous 'David' bronze sculpture (edited at 100 copies, the large one is visible at the Orsay Museum in Paris. He sculpted the Arago monument in Perpignan, a marble sculpture for the tomb of the wife of Charles Ferry, called 'Souvenir'. And several other monuments, for Jules Ferry, Meissonier, Louis Faidherbe, Adolphe Thiers,  and a 'Regret' sculpture for Alexandre Cabanel tomb. And also a large stone sculpture called 'Justice'...

Below, photograph of Antonin Mercié in his studio (115, boulevard Saint Michel Paris).
Mercié was also a painter, one of his famous painting being the Michel Angelo studying anatomy (1885). He was one of the teacher at the Ecole des Beaux Arts de Paris, for both drawing and sculpture. He became President of the French Artists society in 1913.He is resting in Toulouse, at the Terre-Cabale cemetery.

Mercié portrait (1900) done by Ramon Casas - Musée Nat. des Arts - Catalogne - Spain
Sources :
Louvre Museum
Paris1900 L'Art 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Stone carvers world tour

The male beauties sculpted in stone and visible in today's museums, galleries, cathedrals, castles, churches, public monuments, parks and places, have a similar origin : a (large) block of marble or other stone, block that was extracted from the ground, in various quarries such as the famous Carrara, Volterra, and Pietrasanta in Italy, by famous or less known carvers and sculptors. And these cathedrals, palaces or public monuments as well were built using carved blocks of stone or marble.

Italy (detail - Architecture Allegorie -hard stone marqueterie - painting from Giuseppe Zocchi)

So here is a visual world tour of some of these carvers and sculptors, their tools, their workshops or studios and a selection of some marble and other stone quarries. Let start with some stone carvers, through photographs, old postcards, paintings, drawings, and even marqueterie with hard stone!

Italy (Architecture allegorie - this is an impressive hard stone marqueterie based on a painting from Giuseppe Zocchi - we will write more about him later on).

France - Bastia, in Corsica

Middle-age drawings:

 Russia - Moscow
 France - Amiens
Dated 1425

USA - Queens - NYC
 USA - Indiana - Limestone blocks, 1929.
 USA - Manhattan NYC, 1905
 USa - Washington, 1854
 USA - Prisoners in the State Prison of Massachusetts

India - Assam, 1920
 China - Guangzou, 1790
 Japan - artist Wada Sanzo, 1883-1967
Mexico - Diego Rivera drawing

Mexico  - Carl Pappe 1936


Sources :
Site de Pierres-Info  
Histoire des Arts et des Métiers