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Giovanni Dupré

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Sculptor, b. of remote French ancestry at Siena, 1 Mar., 1817; d. at Florence, 10 Jan., 1882. Dupré was in youth a woodcarver, and taught himself the art of sculpture. In 1836 he married. In a contest opened by the Academy he won first prize with his "Judgment of Paris ", took his rank as a sculptor with the life-size recumbent figure of the dead "Abel" in marble (c. 1839), Pitti Palace, Florence, and followed this with the "Cain" (1840), also in the Pitti, the " Giotto ", "Pius II" for the Church of S. Domenico, Siena, and the "S. Antonino", Florence. A period of ill-health was followed by renewed vigour, which resulted in the brooding "Sappho", considered one of his best subjects (1857), the so-called "Tazza", surrounded by figures in relief; the Ferrari monument in S. Lorenzo, Florence (1859); the "Putti dell'Uva" (the Grape Children); the "Addolorata" for Sta Croce, Florence (1860), and the much discussed relief of the "Triumph of the Cross" over the entrance to the same church. In 1863 Dupré touched high-water mark with the noblest of all his creations, the "Pietà", for the family tomb of the Marchese Bichi-Ruspoli in the cemetery of the Misericordia, Siena. This group was awarded the Grande medaille d'honneur at the International Exhibition in Paris. The "San Zanobi" for the façade of the Duomo, the "Risen Christ" for the Dupré memorial chapel, the Cavour monument in Turin, the bronze bust of Savonarola in his cell at the monastery of S. Marco, Florence, and a number of minor works complete the list of Dupré's productions. His last work, the "St. Francis" inside the Cathedral of S. Rufino, Assisi, was finished by his eldest daughter and pupil, Amalia. Time failed him to execute the crowning figure of the Madonna for Sta Maria del Fiore. The sculptor left a volume of memoirs of great interest to artists and critics: "Pensieri sull'arte e ricordi autobiografici" (Florence, 1884-1906), tr. by F. Peruzzi (Edinburgh, 1886).

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