Louis Ernest Barrias

(1841 - 1905)


Louis-Ernest Barrias (1841 - 1905) was one of the most celebrated and influential sculptors of the late nineteenth century. Along with contemporaries such as Batholdi (of Statue of Liberty fame), he was influential in re-inventing a new sophisticated approach to allegorical representation, evident in the romantic figure of Nature Revealing Herself, but also in handling themes of modernity such as his Allegory to Electricity for the Gallery of Machines at the 1889 Exposition Universelle.
Born in Paris into a family of well known artists Louis-Ernest started his career as a painter. He studied under Léon Cogniet, before later taking up sculpture under Pierre-Jules Cavelier and following his admittance to the école des Beaux-Arts in Paris 1858, François Jouffroy. In 1865 Barrias won the Prix de Rome and was involved in the decoration of the Paris Opéra and the Hôtel de la Païva in the Champs-élysées.
In 1878 he was made a knight of the Legion of Honour, an officer in 1881, and a commander in 1900. Barrias replaced Dumont at the Institut de France in 1884 and succeeded Cavelier as professor at the école des Beaux-Arts.