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Statuette - Theseus combating the Minotaur
  • Theseus combating the Minotaur
    Barye, Antoine-Louis, born 1796 - died 1875
  • Enlarge image

Theseus combating the Minotaur

  • Object:

    Statuette

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    1843 (modelled)
    1850-1855 (cast)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Barye, Antoine-Louis, born 1796 - died 1875 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Bronze statuette, cast

  • Museum number:

    2708-1856

  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture, Room 111, The Gilbert Bayes Gallery, case 10, shelf 4

There was a fashion in 19th-century France for animal studies. Bronzes could now be mass produced and the growing middle class was keen to collect luxury goods. Barye was the first and foremost of the sculptors who specialised in this genre. This bronze was purchased from the International Exhibition of 1855.

Although this was a poplar neo-classical subject, Barye's modelling of the surfaces has a vibrancy and movement characteristic of French romantic sculpture. The Theseus was executed relatively early in the sequence of small bronzes produced by Barye from the beginning of the 1830s onwards. Most were animal subjects, prompting Gautier's description of him as the "Michelangelo of the menagerie".

Physical description

Bronze statuette of Theseus and the Minotaur

Place of Origin

Paris (made)

Date

1843 (modelled)
1850-1855 (cast)

Artist/maker

Barye, Antoine-Louis, born 1796 - died 1875 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Bronze statuette, cast

Dimensions

Weight: 12.18 kg

Object history note

Executed relatively early in the sequence of small bronzes produced by Barye from the beginning of the 1830s onwards. This cast, shown as the 1855 Paris exhibition, was probably produced and marketed through the business he ran between 1845 and 1857 with Emile Martin for the replication of his compositions.

Historical context note

Another version included in the Christies's New York sale - BAyre Bronzes: An Important Private Collection, held on Friday 25 April, 2003, lot 150 sold for: $ 240,000 h.p)

Descriptive line

Bronze statuette of Theseus and the Minotaur by Antoine-Louis Barye, Paris, modelled 1843, cast ca. 1850.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Inventory of Art Objects Acquired in the Year 1856. In: Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, Arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol I. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 28.
Poletti, M. and Richarme, A. Barye. Catalogue raisonné des sculptures. Paris: 2000, cat.no. F31.
Trusted, Marjorie, ed. The Making of Sculpture. The Materials and Techniques of European Sculpture. London: 2007, p. 60, pl. 96a.

Labels and date

'American and European Art and Design 1800-1900'

Although this was a poplar neo-classical subject, Barye's modelling of the surfaces has a vibrancy and movement characteristic of French romantic sculpture. The Theseus was executed relatively early in the sequence of small bronzes produced by Barye from the beginning of the 1830s onwards. Most were animal subjects, prompting Gautier's description of him as the "Michelangelo of the menagerie". This cast, shown at the 1855 Paris exhibition, was probably produced and marketed through the business he ran between 1845 and 1857 with Emile Martin for the replication of his compositions. [1987-2006]

Materials

Bronze

Techniques

Cast

Subjects depicted

Minotaur

Categories

Sculpture; Myths & Legends

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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