Louis Ernest Barrias (French, 1841-1905), “Nature Revealing (unveiling) Herself Before Science” cold painted, gilt and silvered bronze. Malachite jeweled chest brooch. Circa 1898. Art Nouveau. Modeled as a young woman wrapped in loosely draped cloak, standing and revealing her naked breasts,
Signed “E. Barrias” with Susse Freres foundry mark and stamp with granite base,
Measures: Height: 25.75 inches with base
Bronze Height: 22.5 inches
Width: 9.5 inches
Depth: 7.2 inches
Condition: Excellent with wear commensurate of age and use. Tarnish and rubbing to patina. Granite with small chips and losses.
AVANTIQUES is dedicated to providing an exclusive curated collection of Fine Arts, Paintings, Bronzes, Asian treasures, Art Glass and Antiques. Our inventory represents time-tested investment quality items with everlasting decorative beauty. We look forward to your business and appreciate any reasonable offers. All of our curated items are vetted and guaranteed authentic and as described. Avantiques only deals in original antiques and never reproductions. We stand behind our treasures with a full money back return policy if the items are not as described.
Nature Unveiling Herself Before Science (La Nature se dévoilant à la Science) is an allegorical sculpture created in 1899 in the Art Nouveau style by Louis-Ernest Barrias. The sculpture depicts a woman—personifying Nature—removing a veil to reveal her face and bare breasts. The sculpture, which is in the Musée d’Orsay, was commissioned for the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers. Underneath the veil, Nature wears a gown held up by a scarab. The figure is made of marble, with the gown made of Algerian onyx, and the scarab of malachite. The sculpture has also been reproduced in other media.
According to historians of science Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, the sculpture “blends the ancient trope of the veil of Isis, interpreted as nature’s desire to hide her secrets, with the modern fantasy of (female) nature willingly revealing herself to the (male) scientist, without violence or artifice.” According to historian of science Carolyn Merchant, the sculpture is emblematic of transformation of conceptions of nature that came with the Scientific Revolution: “From an active teacher and parent, she [Nature] has become a mindless, submissive body.” In a similar vein, biologist and essayist Gerald Weissmann has noted the similarity between Nature’s pose in Barrias’ sculpture and that of the central figure in the 1876 painting Dr. Pinel Unchaining the Mad by Tony Robert-Fleury, a released inmate from an insane asylum who has “the detached look of the very lost.” Literary critic Elaine Showalter imagines a companion piece depicting Science would consist of “a fully clothed man, whose gaze [is] bold, direct, and keen, the penetrating gaze of intellectual and sexual mastery”.
Please also consider Avantique’s eclectic bronze collection including Barye, Barrias, Mene, Moigniez, Paillet, Paillard, Fratin, Picault, Tiffany Studios, and Cain among others. We strive to collect the highest quality sculptures in exceptional condition.