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  • Bronze Group "Bergers d'Arcaadie" after Eugene Aizelin
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Bronze Group "Bergers d'Arcaadie" after Eugene Aizelin

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Cast by F. Barbedienne, signed and sealed in base
Item # 705LDM14P

This exquisitely cast bronze group is noteworthy for it’s use of gilt highlights against the dark brown patina, a most effective method of emphasizing the lines and form of each element in the work.  It is known as Bergers d’Arcadie, the Shepherds of Arcadia, and finely depicts a couple in mourning, the young maiden leaning on the shoulder of a shepherd while standing beside a small tomb.  It is a somber scene, both figures with downcast eyes and bowed heads as they ponder the stone before them.  The detailing of the work is typical of Aizelin’s collaboration with Barbedienne - impeccable technical execution of a complex and handsomely modeled work.  The chiseling is perfect and the smallest details are captured with accuracy.  Garments are portrayed with lifelike realism, her flowing tunic and his woven hat cast with flawless surface.  He grasps a knobby wooden staff in his hand, apparently pushing some grasses away from the inscribed stone.  The monument behind them has some partial  lettering, the lower edge of it signed "E. AIZELIN 1867" and the other edge signed "F. Barbedienne fondeur” while the back of the sculpture base is impressed with the A. Collas reduction seal.  The work is inspired by the Nicolas Poussin painting of "Et in Arcadia Ego”, a work depicting a maiden with three shepherds at a tomb bearing a Latin inscription that translates “Even in Arcadia, I exist”, referring to death.  It is a somber recognition of the mortality of all, Arcadia being idealized in Greek and Roman poetry as an Eden, a place of perfection and harmony; and yet even in the most idyllic paradise, death finds a place.

Born in Paris, July 10th of 1821, Eugene Aizelin was a student of Etienne-Jules Ramey and Augustin-Alexandre Dumont at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris in 1844. Starting with his first successful debut in 1852, he pursued a fruitful and long fifty year career until his death in Paris, 1902. He is generally recognized for his contributions to biblical and mythological subjects, as well as operatic and genre scenes, actively producing many very successful works most commonly with the Ferdinand Barbedienne foundry. He received numerous commissions from the State and from the City of Paris for the decoration of public buildings, working on the three great Parisian building projects of the Second Empire (1851-70): the new Louvre, the Opera and the Hotel de Ville, as well as on theatres, the Parisian churches of the Trinity and Saint-Roch and other institutions. His works are documented in most major books on bronzes of the period, many of his pieces held today in museum collections, particularly in France.

Measurements:  9 1/4” W x 7 7/8” D x 19 1/8” H [including lower base]; 8 1/4” W x 6 3/4” D x 16 3/4” H [proper bronze figure]

Literature: Bronzes: Sculptors & Founders, 1800-1930, Vol. 4, Berman, f. 4460, p. 1116

Condition Report:
Lower base originally designed to host a lamp, this since removed.  Sculpture itself is untouched and in very fine original condition, recently waxed and ready to present