Musée d'Orsay: Henri Cros Tournament Prize

Henri Cros
Tournament Prize

Tournament Prize
Henri Cros (1840-1907)
Tournament Prize
Wax relief, polychrome and pearls, in a siris wood frame
H. 125; W. 109; D. 20 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Gérard Blot / Christian Jean

Isabeau of Bavaria

Prix du Tournoi [Tournament Prize]

In the early part of his career, Henri Cros made highly refined wax sculptures. The wax was bulk dyed then painted and decorated with beads. Cros's inspiration came from small wax reliefs and painted portraits from the Renaissance period.
But the scenes he painted often alluded to a legendary mediaeval era. In this Tournament Prize, the beauty is in the stand with her ladies in waiting while a knight fights on her behalf. Cros used the same technique for a bust, Isabeau of Bavaria.

Henri Cros liked experimenting. He came from a family of inventors. His brother, Charles Cros, was not only a renowned poet, but invented the phonograph and experimented with colour photography. Henri Cros hunted out old texts to learn about ancient techniques such as wax painting. In the second part of his career, he abandoned wax and worked on the technique of glass paste.

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