cover image The Passions of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux

The Passions of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux

James David Draper and Edouard Papet. Metropolitan Museum of Art (Yale Univ., dist.), $65 (376p) ISBN 978-0-300-20431-5

This excellent monograph, a companion to the spring exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, features a comprehensive series of astute essays on Second Empire French sculptor Carpeaux (1827-1875), a naturalist who renounced "the dead grammar of antiquity," and embraced Michelangelo's sculptural language, leaving behind a triumphant oeuvre before his death at age 48. "He would leave a void not filled until [Auguste] Rodin," writes Met curator Draper, writing here with Musee d'Orsay curator Papet, with contributions by Elena Carrara, Nadege Horner, Laure de Margerie, Jean-Claude Poinsignon, and Philip Ward-Jackson. The authors and contributors address an impressive range of topics, such as the difficult seven-year genesis of "Ugolino and His Sons" (the sculpture inspired by Dante's Inferno), and "the first milestone in the emancipation of modern sculpture"; also discussed is how Carpeaux refreshed bust portraiture. Carpeaux's paintings are also discussed. Generous with details, while also calling attention to overlooked aspects of the artist's career, the text provides an essential overview of Carpeaux's work. Thanks to the stunning photographs, the artist's sculptures%E2%80%94terracotta, marble, or bronze%E2%80%94all have an exhilarating presence on the page. 350 color illus. (Mar.)