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Pourquoi naître esclave?

Pourquoi naître esclave?

‘Pourquoi naître esclave?’ (Why born a slave?) is the name given by French sculptor and painter Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875) to a series of busts he created around 1870. This includes the model proposed by Cire Trudon and entitled ‘L’Esclave’. The original is displayed at the Saint-Cloud castle.

Cire Trudon was granted by the French National Museum Organization (RMN) the exclusive rights to reproduce in wax certain references of its catalogue of sculptures. ‘Why born a slave?’ was selected among others such as Marie-Antoinette, Napoleon, Benjamin Franklin for it fantastic artistic characteristics and for the symbols of freedom and rebellion it personifies. These values were embedded in French history during the revolution, period when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were first written. Cire Trudon selected this piece of art as a tribute to this period and these values.

Carpeaux always attempted to give a faithful representation of human movements; he sculpted the slave figure with a bust holding obliquely in order to express revolt. The figure expresses freedom and the breaking of bonds, and was created against the political and social backdrop of the revolutionary century as well as the abolition of slavery across the world. Carpeaux’s talent serves a powerful idea.

Its image is one of positivity and hope, which is used in a decorative way by Cire Trudon via its long-standing relationship with French national collections. As a decorative wax object ‘The Liberated Slave’ none the less retains all those core ideals of freedom and liberty for all.