Toulouse, Haute-Garonne 1831 - Paris 1900
Le Poète (Bellérophon sur Pégase)
The Poet (Bellerophon on Pegasus)
Acc. No.: AC 1974.2
Credit Line: Purchased
Photo credit: ph. Collections Database, Five Colleges and Historic Deerfield Museum Consortium, museums.fivecolleges.edu
- Museum's website (accessed May 19, 2017)
- Museum's website (accessed May 19, 2017):
Jean-Alexandre-Joseph Falguière submitted this composition to an 1897 competition, held at the Salon in Paris, for a monument to French poet Victor Hugo. The sculptor shows the poet riding the divine winged horse Pegasus and holding a lyre, an instrument associated with the arts, lyricism, and the virtues of moderation and equilibrium. According to Greek mythology, the god Hermes created the lyre from a tortoise shell covered with animal hide and antelope horns.
Falguière modeled from nature. While his naturalistic approach to mythological motifs provoked criticism from the Académie des Beaux-Arts, his lively sculptures suited the taste of his contemporaries. Poet Paul-Armand Silvestre characterized Falguière as “the purest representative of the Greek tradition in our French sculpture,” and the state bought his works frequently for public display. Although the jury didn’t choose The Poet as the winning monument, a large version was erected in Paris’s Square de l’Opéra-Louis-Jouvet, which it graces to this day.