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This small bronze sculpture depicts Michel Ney, a key strategist of the Napoleonic army, who was condemned for high treason after the Battle of Waterloo, following an unfounded accusation of causing the defeat and, as a result, Napoleon's failure. Grandi portrays the last, anguished night before the execution, spent at the Palais du Luxembourg. The military leader is dressed proudly in uniform but browbeaten by the political situation, with his hat falling across his downcast face and his sword used as a cane. This tragic figure, defeated and destroyed by plots for power, clearly affected the imagination of the generation of artists who actively participated in the events of the Risorgimento, as well as the bruising disappointments that came after. The drama of the subject is further emphasized by Grandi's sculpting method, which rejects the descriptive narrative tone that was popular in Milanese sculpture at that time, opting instead to open the form to disintegration, anticipating end-of-century innovations that had yet to occur.

Details

  • Title: Marshal Ney
  • Creator: Giuseppe Grandi
  • Date: 1874/1875
  • Physical Location: Galleria d'Arte Moderna di Milano
  • bequest: Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: w16,5 x h33,5 x d13,5 cm
  • Provenance: Bequeathed
  • Type: sculpture
  • Medium: bronze

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