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Plaster cast - The Dying Slave
  • The Dying Slave
    Michelangelo, born 1475 - died 1564
  • Enlarge image

The Dying Slave

  • Object:

    Plaster cast

  • Place of origin:

    Florence (original, sculpted)
    Paris (cast)

  • Date:

    ca. 1513 (sculpted)
    ca. 1863 (cast)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Michelangelo, born 1475 - died 1564 (sculptor)
    Toquiere Monsieur (cast-maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plaster cast, painted plaster

  • Museum number:

    REPRO.1863-15

  • Gallery location:

    Cast Courts, Room 46b, The Weston Cast Court , case FS, shelf S

This is the 'Dying Slave', one of six "slaves" executed by Michelangelo for the tomb of Pope Julius II (Pope 1503; d. 1513), of which two are now in the Louvre and four are in the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. The plaster cast was made in 1863 by Monsieur Toquiere. This figure, together with the Rebellious Slave (V&A cast no. 1863-16), was executed for the second project (1513) for the tomb. In this scheme, Michelangelo planned to place them on either side of the Moses (V&A cast museum no. 1858-278). The project was never completed in this form. Around 1546, Michelangelo gave these two statues to Ruberto Strozzi, a Florentine exile in Lyon, who in turn presented them to King Francois I of France. They were given by King Francois I to Conétable Anne de Montmorency and thereafter passed through the hands of several members of the Montmorency and Richelieu families. In 1794, the Rebellious and Dying Slaves were purchased for the French state, and have been preserved in the Musée du Louvre ever since.

Plaster casts were especially sought after during the 19th century, when reproductions of great works of sculpture and architecture were thought crucial for the training of artists. A separating substance was applied to the surface of the work to be reproduced, and a plaster mould made from that. The mould would then be used to make any number of additional plaster copies. These were often sold to artists, and later in the century to art colleges for study purposes.

Place of Origin

Florence (original, sculpted)
Paris (cast)

Date

ca. 1513 (sculpted)
ca. 1863 (cast)

Artist/maker

Michelangelo, born 1475 - died 1564 (sculptor)
Toquiere Monsieur (cast-maker)

Materials and Techniques

Plaster cast, painted plaster

Dimensions

Height: 229 cm, Width: 82 cm

Object history note

Purchased from Monsieur Toquiere in 1863 (sum unrecorded).

Historical context note

One of six "slaves" executed by Michelangelo for the tomb of Pope Julius II (Pope 1503; d. 1513), of which two are now in the Louvre and four are in the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. This figure, together with the Rebellious Slave (V&A cast no. 1863-16), was executed for the second project (1513) for the tomb. In this scheme, Michelangelo planned to place them on either side of the Moses (V&A cast museum no. 1858-278). The project was never completed in this form. Around 1546, Michelangelo gave these two statues to Ruberto Strozzi, a Florentine exile in Lyon, who in turn presented them to King Francois I of France. They were given by King Francois I to Conétable Anne de Montmorency and thereafter passed through the hands of several members of the Montmorency and Richelieu families. In 1794, the Rebellious and Dying Slaves were purchased for the French state, and have been preserved in the Musée du Louvre ever since.

Descriptive line

Plaster cast, painted plaster, after the marble 'The Dying Slave' by Michelangelo in Florence, Italy, 1513 and now in the Musée du Louvre, Paris. Cast by Monsieur Toquière in Paris, around 1863.

Labels and date

Michelangelo carved six figures of slaves for the tomb of Pope Julius II. The project to create a vast monument was eventually scaled down. Michelangelo gave two of the figures to a Florentine exile in France, who presented them to the king. In 1794, The Dying Slave and The Rebellious Slave (cast displayed nearby) were bought by the French state. They were placed in the Louvre, where they were fundamental to the appreciation and knowledge of Michelangelo's work outside Italy. [2014]

Materials

Plaster

Techniques

Casting

Subjects depicted

Slaves

Categories

Sculpture; Plaster Cast; Death

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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