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César Isidore Henry Cros

Feliciter or The Scottish Girl


César Isidore Henry Cros
Narbonne 1840 – Sèvres 1907


Feliciter or The Scottish Girl




Painted terracotta


44.5 x 35.5 x 26 cm


Purchase, the Museum Campaign 1988-1993 Fund, the Cecil and Marguerite Buller Fund, and gifts of Rachel Sachs, Raymond D. LeMoyne, Guy Cogeval, Jean H. Picard, Betty Reitman, Mr. and Mrs. Michal Hornstein, Mrs. Neil B. Ivory, the St. Andrew's Society of Montreal, Nathalie Bondil, Helgi Soutar and Ian Aitken, inv. 2005.36.1-2


Western Art

The name of Cros is unfamiliar, yet his works were held in the highest esteem by Rodin. In the nineteenth century, there was a highly debate over the colouring of antique statuary. The proponents of whiteness were obliged to admit that in Ancient Greece, and not just in the Far East and Egypt, temples and statues were multicoloured. Cros was inevitably caught up in this new thinking. As a bold experimenter in tune with his century and its love of technology and history, he set out to investigate the secrets of ancient encaustic painting. Before he devoted himself to working in pâte de verre, he executed two rare key works in coloured terracotta, one of which is Feliciter (“good luck”), exhibited at the Salon of 1883 as The Scottish Girl. The artist is not trying to ape nature here; the almost crude rendering of the shawl, the locks of hair incised into the clay, the light in the eyes and the fine-grained skin, all these are elegant products of the sculptor’s burin. This modern vestal virgin lost in thought, who might be called Impressionist, is free of any taint of Naturalism.

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