The 19th century French sculptor Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1871) is best known for his masterpiece in marble, Ugolino and His Sons, rendered from Dante’s Divine Comedy. Like Michelangelo three centuries earlier, Carpeaux was a genius at depicting “flesh and blood” in stone and strove for anatomical realism. The Passions of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the first major exhibition devoted to the prolific sculptor in 40 years.
Carpeaux was plagued with emotional problems and physical maladies, but that did not stop him from creating a significant body of work in a variety of mediums. His sculptures are ringed with emotion and strength while his sketches, particularly portraits, run the gamut from joy to despair. The exhibition explores the artist’s life and work and features more than 160 works including sculptures, paintings and drawings, many on loan for the first time.
The Passions of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux is on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through May 26, 2014.