Discover all 14 City of Paris museums

» Fermer
Georges Clairin - Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt
Armand Point - Peacock Casket
Camille Alaphilippe - Woman with Monkey
Aristide  Maillol - Seated female nude with her left hand on her head. Study for The Mediterranean
Louis-Robert Carrier-Belleuse - The Struggle for Life vase
Léon  Lhermitte - Les Halles
Fernand Pelez - The Death of Emperor Commodus
Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Ambroise Vollard in a Red Scarf
Jean Carriès - My Portrait
Emile Gallé - Two-handled vase
Georges-Henri Lemaire - Silence or Immortality
Charles-Alexandre Giron - Woman wearing gloves, also known as The Parisienne
Paul Sérusier - Tricoteuse au bas rose
Pierre-Auguste  Renoir - Portrait of Madame de Bonnières
Berthe Morisot - Jeune fille en décolleté - La fleur aux cheveux
Pierre Bonnard - Conversation à Arcachon
Pierre-Adrien Dalpayrat - Dish : The judgment of Paris
Joseph-Marius Avy  - Bal blanc
Marie Constantine Bashkirtseff - Parisienne, Portrait of Irma
Maurice Denis - Female bathers at Perros-Guirec
Fernand Pelez - La Vachalcade
Alfred Sisley - The Church at Moret (Evening)
Théophile Alexandre Steinlen - Ball on the 14th of July
Edmond  Aman-Jean - Miss Ella Carmichaël
Raoul Larche - Buste d'enfant (portrait présumé de Marcel Lerolle)
Sarah Bernhardt - Dagger : algues
 Baccarat Factory - Vase à décor de cactus
Emile Gallé - Commode, Le Sang d'Arménie
 Bracquemond (Félix), Rousseau (Eugène), Creil and Montereau factory - Round dish. Rousseau dinner service
Félix  Vallotton - Femme au bouquet
Emmanuel Frémiet - Le pélican gastronome
George Desvallières - Portrait de Mademoiselle Yvonne Robiquet
Léonard Agathon - Deux esquisses pour le Jeu de l'Echarpe


Montauban, 1861 - Le Vésinet, 1929
Bronze, after the plaster model
173 x 63 x 63 cm

Between 1905 and 1912, Bourdelle devoted himself to the figure of Penelope, wife of Odysseus, who waited faithfully for her husband to return. He created three versions in different sizes, with slight variations.

The work owned by the Petit Palais is a medium-sized version, without a spindle and with one foot extended. It is the second example of the medium-sized Penelope, probably cast between 1924 and 1946.
The genesis of the work can be found in several silhouette sketches in the Musée Bourdelle of his student and future second wife, Cléopâtre Sévastos, contemplating a work of art in a London museum.
One of them is poetically entitled “Sévastos in front of the Hindu gods” and is dated August 1906. However, Penelope’s face owes much to his first wife, Stéphanie van Parys.

Penelope reflects different influences at work in Bourdelle’s sculptures since 1900. She owes her pose with twisted hips, known as contrapposto, and her caryatid draperies to Ancient Greece and she has the posture of a tanagra, those ancient statuettes which were popular with collectors at the turn of the last century. She has the fullness of figure of Indian statues which Bourdelle admired greatly. Her curves are reminiscent of 14th century Parisian Gothic virgins. These academic references are applied to a very modern form of construction with geometric planes and an unusual pedestal, which is almost cubist in style, rooting it firmly in the modern era.

Inventory number: 
PPS01524 - Inv. 1936
Inventory number : PPS01524 - Inv. 1936
Roll your mouse over the exhibit to view detail.
34 / 64