Bourdelle and the gods

The future of Antiquity
Bourdelle and the gods


This exhibition invites visitors to reinterpret Bourdelle’s sculpture and artistic production in the first few decades of the 20th century with respect to modern archaism, which revived ancient Greece, its artistic heritage, and its mythical figures.

Bourdelle drew inspiration from the
primordial energy of myth and the fabulous figures of archaeological
times for his innovative efforts to create “work that is clean, pareddown,
and without nuance”, liberated from Rodin’s aesthetic. Liberated
as well from the canons of academic thought and the conventions of
realism. Reconsidered in terms of mass and planes, subject to a process
of purification and alteration, Bourdelle’s sculpture created a unique
beauty that critics initially denounced as “a return to the idol of
savages”. This return to Greece provides an opportunity to re-examine
the antiques – marble sculptures, plaster works, photographs – that
Bourdelle would have both meditated on and studied. Paradoxically,
this return to “the origin” places Bourdelle firmly at the centre of 20th
century modernity, among the most audacious explorations in modern
art: those of Cézanne, Matisse, Brancusi, Picasso. Organised around
Bourdelle’s masterpieces (Apollo’s Head, Pallas’ Torso, Heracles the Archer,
Dying Centaur, Sappho), this exhibition features around 150 pieces from
the museum’s permanent collections and from major public and private


Autour de l'exposition


Bourdelle et l'Antique, une passion moderne
Claire Barbillon, Jérôme Godeau, Catherine Chevillot, Branka Fotic, Bénédicte Garnier, Violaine Jeammet, Nicholas Penny
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