e From madness and murder to torture and even cannibalism, the Romantics reveled in the macabre and taboo. Inspired by a story in Dante’s Inferno, this sculpture recounts the tale of the Italian nobleman Ugolino de’Gherardeschi, who was imprisoned for betrayal and starved to death with his sons and grandsons. As his children died around him, they begged him to eat their bodies so he might live. Ugolino eventually gave in to his hunger and devoured their bodies. This sculpture compresses the horror of Dante’s narrative into a pyramid of five tightly interlocking figures. At the apex, the overwrought Ugolino gnaws on his hands.



  • Title: Ugolino and His Sons
  • Creator: Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux
  • Creator Lifespan: 1827/1875
  • Creator Nationality: French
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Courbevoie, France
  • Creator Birth Place: Valenciennes, France
  • Date: ca. 1870
  • Location Created: Rome, Italy
  • Provenance: Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.; Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. to the Chrysler Museum, 1971.
  • Physical Dimensions: 19 in. (48.3 cm)
  • Credit Line: Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Medium: Bronze

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