The French sculptor Antoine Bourdelle (1861 – 1929), whose real name was Emile Antoine Bordelles, is an artist who historians of art have been called as a representative of the humanist style that developed in the transition years between the 19th and 20th centuries. A style whose key is to always focus on the innovative character of the human figure. So much so that it has been said that his sculpture had a human vocation. And he is regarded as a link to one of the great sculptors of the 20th century, Alberto Giacometti.
Bourdelle Archer Heracles
Bourdelle was a disciple of the great Auguste Rodin between 1896 and 1904. And he was also a close friend of him. However, he was one of the first creators to break with that preferably optical sculpture that Rodin's works represent. He looks more for mass and volume, and draws a lot of inspiration from ancient sculpture, mainly archaic Greek works. Even in theme. Just look at the title of this bronze, Herakles archer, which evokes the great Greek hero. A theme that abounds in his production with sculptures such asPenélope sin spindle.
In the case of the archer Herakles we can see it both in the Bourdelle Museum in Paris and in the Parque Palermo in Buenos Aires. The figure is part of his series on thelabors of Hercules, and specifically recounts the moment in which the hero killed the birds of the lake of Stymphalus with his arrows. And to achieve the definitive result reached in 1909, the artist carried out numerous preliminary studies in plaster, until he achieved the desired shape. This is very common in the production of Antoine Bourdelle, since he is a very hard-working and conscientious artist.
The work represents tension, the figure forms a true bridge supported by the base stone, with tense arms and the curve of the arch. It is a very dynamic and also very open composition, which completely escapes from the most classical forms, thanks to the position of the members, such as the two foreshortenings that represent the right leg and the left arm.
In the case of the replica found in Buenos Aires, it was included in the Monument to General Alvear. This equestrian monument to Carlos María de Alvear, which Bourdelle himself considered his masterpiece within the genre of monuments.
And the thing is thatBourdelledifferentiated a lot between the genres he worked on and also their meaning. In fact, one of the things he learned fromRodinwas to make a clear difference with the more nourishing works, those that provided him with money, where a more pro-government sculptor is shown. While in his creations that did not come from large commissioners, he shows us much freer in his execution, since he has fewer conditioning factors and therefore they are much more innovative.