Title engraved on the base: "Armida's dream" (“Le rêve d’Armide”)
Signature on the back of the shield: « am. Barré »
Statuary Carrara marble
The plaster was exhibited for the first time at the Salon of 1873, then the marble statue was exhibited at the Salon of 1875 and at the Universal Exhibition of 1878 in Paris.
H. : 86 cm / 33’’ 7/8 ; W. : 197 cm / 77’’ 9/16 ; D. : 76 cm / 29’’ 15/16
Rinaldo in the gardens of Armida,
oil on canvas, circa 1763, Louvre Museum, Paris.
The young woman's hand holds the sword lightly, as if, in spite of her sleep, she makes sure that the young knight stays with her. Her eyes, slightly open, may also suggest that she is looking at her lover. His lascivious position suggests a certain eroticism. The roses and ivy on which the body of the young woman rests indicate that the scene takes place in her gardens.
The work of art title is engraved on one side of the base in a writing reminiscent of medieval calligraphy and thus the time at which the story is supposed to be.
At the Salon of 1873 taking place at the Palais des Champs-Elysées In Paris, Amand Barré exposes, at no. 1507, a plaster of a statue called Le Rêve d'Armide.
For the same year, the french National Archives keeps a document concerning an application for a marble block or a workshop, which is probably done since the marble statue of Armida's dream is exhibited at the Salon of 1875.
« Armida’s dream » at the 1878 Universal Exhibition in Paris
The book Les Beaux-Arts à l’Exposition Universelle de 1878 written by Duval mentions "No. 1082, Armida’s dream, voluptuous study largely treated by Mr. Barré". An old photograph of the Fine Arts Gallery of the 1878 Universal Exhibition that we were able to find reveals a large part of this sculpture in the Trocadero Palace.
This Armida’s dream is a major rediscovery, as much for the 19th-century Art History, as for the knowledge of the works of art presented at the Universal Exhibitions and for the posterity of Amand Barré, a sculptor unjustly unknown.
It is however quite true that Amand Barré, with this Armida, is part of an art movement characteristic of his time. Indeed, this sculpture reminds the taste of 19th-century artists for the female nude and especially, the erotic representation of women in sculpture.
In 1847, Auguste Clésinger inaugurates this artistic movement in sculpture with his Woman bitten by a snake, a life-size sculpture that provokes a scandal during its presentation at the Salon.
It is very interesting to note that the Young Tarentine was also exhibited during the 1878 World Fair, just a few meters from Armida’s dream.
In the same way, our statue awakens a feeling of sensuality thanks to the very carnal rendering of Armida's body and her languid pose.