Emerson Bowyer

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In a celebrated passage from his Histoire de la Révolution Française, historian Jules Michelet (1833–1867) asserted that the French Revolution left no lasting monuments, only empty space. Pierre-Jean David d’Angers (1788–1856), perhaps the greatest sculptor of the early nineteenth century, made it his life’s work to fill that void. This lecture follows David’s attempts to reinvigorate and adapt the notion of a historical monument to the new social and political landscape of modernity.

David d'Angers: Making the Modern Monument

September 17, 2013 to December 8, 2013 Lauded by Victor Hugo as the Michelangelo of Paris, French sculptor Pierre-Jean David d’Angers (1788–1856) produced many of the most iconic portraits and ambitious public monuments of the Romantic era. An experimental writer, outspoken Republican, and teacher to some of the greatest sculptors of the nineteenth century, David d’Angers cultivated friendships with an array of contemporary artists, writers, scientists, and politicians — from Honoré de Balzac and Niccolò Paganini to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Eugène Delacroix. This exhibition included forty-eight works by David on paper and in wax, terracotta, marble, bronze, and plaster, as well as rare nineteenth-century reproductions of his work in photographs and engravings.