Musée d'Orsay: Victor Ségoffin Sacred Dance

Victor Ségoffin
Sacred Dance

Sacred Dance
Victor Ségoffin (1867-1925)
Sacred Dance
Marble statue
H. 250; W. 140; D. 80 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Jean Schormans

Danse sacrée [Sacred Dance]

In Victor Ségoffin's Sacred Dance, violent movement is combined with an almost excessively simple construction. The figure is stiffly aligned along a diagonal line, the stiffness further emphasised by the curve of the scarf; the wild expression on the face suggests some primitive civilisation, the rhythm and beat of the dance finding a sort of sculpted equivalent. The marble itself seems tersely carved and records the twitching of the cloth like choppy waves.

The work is exemplary of the style chosen by Ségoffin, which vigorously combines traditional composition and a rough, virtuoso treatment of the marble that has a modern feel. His interpretation of movement is highly baroque, distending bodies or contracting them to the point of rigidity, and no doubt owes a great deal to the gestures of theatre and drama.

This creative vein flowered in Sacred Dance, designed in 1903 for the Palais de l'Elysée, with its pendant Profane Dance. This generous, sweeping style brought Ségoffin prestigious commissions for the Pantheon and the Luxembourg gardens.

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