• The sculpted groups of the Paris Opera house

In 1863, Charles Garnier, architect of the new Paris Opera house, asked four artists perform four groups carved to decorate the front of the building. Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux tackles the theme of the dance. He imagines a round of women around the genius of the dance. They are joyful and, above all, naked. The public ignites and calls for its withdrawal. In the night of 26 to August 27, 1869, a bottle of ink was even projected against the dancers. Émile Zola wears the nails in the coffin and saw the symbol of the decay of power. “The group of M. Carpeaux, it is the Empire ; it is the satire violent of contemporary dance, the frenzied dance of the millions, of women who sell and men sold. This facade beast and pretensions of the new Opera house, in the middle of this architecture, a bastard, of this Napoleon III style, shamefully vulgar bursts the symbol true of the reign,” he writes. Before the outcry, Charles Garnier will move …

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