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Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux

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Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux
1827 - 1875
The son and grandson of stonemasons, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux was born in 1827 in Valenciennes and moved to Paris at the age of eleven. Beginning in the early 1840s he studied at the Petite Ecole, the state school for training in the applied arts, formally called the Ecole Gratuite de Dessin, before entering the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1844, where he changed masters repeatedly, oscillating between typical student ambition (optimal credentials for the Prix de Rome) and his interest in more liberal approaches. Carpeaux moved from Ecole painter Abel de Pujol (1785-1861), to the independent sculptor François Rude, and finally to the prestigious Ecole sculptor Francisque-Joseph Duret (1804-1865). After winning lesser competitions--despite being caught cheating--Carpeaux was awarded the Prix de Rome in 1854, but outstanding imperial commissions and illness delayed his departure until 1856.
Once in Rome Carpeaux intensified his reputation as institutional bad boy, canny professional maneuverer, and provocative artist. As a pensionnaire he battled repeatedly with the Villa Medici authorities and flouted Ecole policy. Yet his major envois--the Neapolitan Fisherboy and multi-figural Ugolino (both begun 1857)--introduced his name in Paris and provided the artistic and commercial germs for his entire life. His pre-eminence, as the star among emerging sculptors, was established at the Salon of 1863, where he exhibited finished versions of those two works...
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