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Statue La Danse, Paris

4.0
#2407 of 2,938 in Things to do in Paris
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  • Carved from the white limestone extracted from the quarries of the Stilt located at the northern end of the Vercors in Isère (stones also used for certain elements of the Alexandre III Bridge, for the façade of the Opera Garnier as well as for the Notre-Dame de Fourvière Basilica in Lyon, the sculpted group dedicated to "La Danse" was created by the French sculptor, painter and draughtsman Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875). Revealed to the public in July 1869, this high-relief, occupying the left side of the south-east entrance (the one giving access to the shop, the bookstore and the restaurant) of the Opera Garnier, has sparked a heated controversy related in particular to the nudity of the characters. The group of La Danse is indeed made up of a Smiling Dance Genius (male body and female face), standing up playing the tambourine and surrounded by four bacchantes turning and dancing naked around him. Not only was the sculpture criticized, it was even vandalized; in August 1889, a stranger threw an inkwell filled with black ink to him, which led to restoration work. There was even talk of replacing it with another work, but money, war and time allowed it to survive the punditable public opinion of the time. Note that since 1963 it is a reproduction (sculptor: Jean Juge, 1898-1968) because the original sculpture has been on display in the nave of the Musée d'Orsay since 1986 (preserved in the Louvre Museum from 1964 to 1986). The sculpted group occupying the left side of the southeast entrance is dedicated to the "Lyric Drama"; it was made by the French sculptor Jean-Joseph Perraud (1819-1876). Like Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux in 1854, Jean-Joseph Perraud won the Prix de Rome in 1847; this prize seems to have something in common with the four artists chosen by Charles Garnier to decorate the two entrances to the south façade of the Palais Garnier since Eugène Guillaume had received it in 1845 and François Jouffroy in 1832.
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  • The statue "the dance" which is located on the façade of the Palais Garnier is one of the most beautiful. And to come and contemplate it as well as the architecture of the Palace is a pleasure.
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