a Bottle of Ink over ‘La Danse’

During the night of 26-27 August 1869 an unknown man stealthily climbed the large stairs of the Opèra Theatre of Garnier in Paris. Looked around, nobody came from the av. de l’Opéra and just be sure to not be seen, violently threw a bottle full of black ink against the beautiful and voluptuous naked bodies of the bacchantes that compose one of the most beautiful french sculptures of the nineteenth century.

Next morning the dawn light showed the large black stains that disfigured the white sculpture right next to the nudity more evident.
But who was that anonymous man and why had done that horrible act?
La Danse by the french sculptor and painter Jean Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875) , a large group of sculptures in stone, had just been placed between other four large sculptures on the right side of the facade of the Opèra de Paris. The destructive act of that man was highly symbolic and this was the reason of that vandalism.
The group by Carpeaux was strongly condemned by the public as obscene and insultingly to public decency, as to ask for an immediate replacement with another sculpture. Was soon engaged another sculptor, Charles Alphonse Auguste Gumery (1827-1871), that would have sculpted other two gilded bronze groups on top the of the facade crowing the same Palais Garnier  L’Harmonie and La Poèsie. But the impending war of 1870 avoided that the Carpeaux’s sculpture was removed.
In 1964 the original (below right) was transferred to the Musèe du Louvre to preserve it from the pollution. Then in 1986 was transferred at the Musèe d’Orsay with the original plaster model (below left) and some sketches.
Outside the facade of the Opera there is a very fine copy in stone by the french sculptor Gean Juge (bottom right).
On the bottom left you can see our fine miniature replica available on catalog.