The Musée d’Orsay, Paris is the most famous museum known for its collection of French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Art Nouveau masterpieces.
Visitors when entering the Musée d’Orsay first notice the splendid collection of sculptures filling the main hall which was once a historical railway station.
This includes an exclusive collection of sculptures by famous artists like Auguste Rodin, Edgar Degas, Aristide Maillol and Pierre-August Renoir.
Some of the notable sculptures on display at the Musée d’Orsay include:
- The Thinker
- The Little Dancer of fourteen years
- The Age of Bronze
- La Danse
- The Gates of Hell
Best Sculptures in Musee d’Orsay
Musee d’Orsay holds a huge collection of 2,200 sculptures of various artist.
Some of the best sculptures in Musee d’Orsay are listed in this article.
La Danse – Carpeaux
Considered one of the most important modernist artworks, “La Danse” is a sculpture made by French artist Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux.
In 1863, Charles Garnier the architect of the Paris Opera hired Carpeaux to decorate the facade of the building under the theme dance.
Over years Carpeaux produced a sculpture of turning farandole of women around the spirit of dance.
It is one of the most important artworks, notable for its expressive, abstract form that depicts human figures.
Liberty – Bartholdi
The Statue of Liberty is a gift from the French people to Americans on the occasion of American Independence in 1876.
Created by the French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the Statue of Liberty is one of the most famous and significant statues.
A smaller copy of the masterpiece was acquired from the artist to display in the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris.
Later the statue was shifted to Luxembourg Gardens and then to Musée d’Orsay.
Ugolin – Carpeaux
Inspired by the Divine Comedy by Dante, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux carved a masterpiece for the ninth circle of Hell.
This sculpture expresses sumptuous brutality before the irreparable moment of Ugolin eating his kids due to starvation in jail.
Viewers get a clear view of the contrasting animality of Ugolin and the children’s innocence from the sculpture.
Hercules the archer – Bourdelle
Antoin Bourdelle, initially an assistant in the famous Rodin’s Studio produced the masterpiece – Hercules the Archer.
The figure denotes power and energy with reference to primitive Greek sculpture and Roman art.
This sculpture portrays the victory over the monsters ad high spirited inspiration of Hercules.
Walking Panther – Bugatti
Rembrandt Bugatti, the son of Italian furniture designer Carlo Bugatti and brother of car manufacturer Ettore Bugatti turned to animal sculpture at an early age.
Buggati sculpted from pets to exotic mammals, birds and reptiles.
The walking panther is one of his significant artworks, which he designed to portray his lively style.
The Four Parts of the World Supporting the Celestial Sphere – Carpeaux
Garbriel Davious, architect of Paris city assigned Jean Baptiste Carpeaux the task to design a sculpture.
It was designed to top a fountain between the Paris Observatory and Luxembourg Gardens.
The sculpture represents the four continents as females who twist to represent the rotation of the earth.
The sculpture has four females – Africa, Asia, Europe and America in a clockwise direction who support the celestial sphere.
This is one of the main art pieces in Musee d’Orsay.
Small Dancer Aged Fourteen – Degas
Designed by Edgar Degas, The Small Dancer Aged Fourteen is the most famous sculpture and the highlight of Musee d’Orsay.
Made with natural colors, real hair, a tutu and a real dancing slipper, this sculpture is the best example of hyperrealism and verism in its extreme.
Degas mastered the art of realism through wax and clay sculptures which were then made into a bronze edition after his death.
Woman with Lilies – Muncha
Designed by Alphonse Mucha, The Woman with Lillies depicts a woman standing in a field filled with lilies, wearing a crown of lilies and holding the same.
The Woman with Lilies was a collaboration between Mucha and Seysses to produce the most realistic sculpture.
The Gates of Hell – Rodin
The Gates of Hell is one of the oldest sculptures housed in the Musee d’Orsay.
Sculpted by Rodin, there are large groups and figures on the gate inspired by Inferno by Dante.
The Gates of Hell wins its reputation due to the most delicate details, an impressive portrayal of emotions and a colossal size of six meters.
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