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Jean-Joseph Marie Carriès

Loyse Labé, called The Beautiful Ropemaker


Jean-Joseph Marie Carriès
Lyons 1855 – Paris 1894


Loyse Labé, called The Beautiful Ropemaker


Between 1887 and 1894


Patinated bronze


67 x 70 x 35 cm


Pierre Bingen Foundry, Paris


Purchase, the Museum Campaign 1988-1993 Fund, inv. 2015.188


Western Art

Fascinated by historical characters, Carriès sculpted this bust of an iconic figure in his native city, the great poetess Loyse Labé (1524-1566). In it he was paying tribute not only to the woman known as “the beautiful ropemaker,” since she was the daughter, and later the wife, of a rich Lyons ropemaker, but also to the perfection of Renaissance bronzes, which was made possible by the lost-wax casting process. The sculpture is striking for its bold composition—an imposing triangle formed by the figure’s dress. Without making use of the traditional pedestal, Carriès emphasizes its breadth and almost airy lightness, from the flared sleeves to the “aerodynamic” headdress. Enthused by the exploration of lost-wax casting conducted by the talented founder Pierre Bingen, Carriès embarked on a fruitful collaboration with him. Following the father-and-son Gonon team in the early nineteenth century, and before Hébrard and Valsuani at the turn of the twentieth, Bingen was one of the founders who rediscovered the secrets of the technique, which in France had been forgotten since the seventeenth century.

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