18 1/4 x 12 1/4in (46.4 x 31.1cm)
Museum purchase with the Victor and Peggy Barton Creighton Charitable Trust
Alexandre Charpentier's relief sculpture Maternité (Motherhood), one of his best known compositions, continues the naturalism of Aimé-Jules Dalou (1838-1902) who popularized, intimate, informal depictions of contemporary women and children, much as the Impressionist painters did. The low relief also suggests the inspiration of Italian sculptors of the 15th century who perfected such subtle forms in marble. Originally cast in bronze, this pâte-de-verre version shows a taste for experimentation with new media at the turn of the 19th century thanks in part to the remarkable talents of glass artists of the period. The Belgian glass artist Georges Despret was Charpentier's collaborator here.