Bust of a Moor
Charles Cordier (1827-1905)
19th century, Polychrome marble
This Bust of a Moor was made by Charles Henri Joseph Cordier (1827-1905), a sculptor who was very active in France during the Second Empire (1852-1870). His ultimate aim was the abolition of slavery, through knowledge of other peoples, in a society which was becoming ever more diverse. After training in the atelier of François Rude (1784-1855), it was his encounter in 1847 with a young African man who had been freed from slavery, Seïd Enkess, that led him to pursue anthropological subjects. He travelled to Algeria in 1856, to Greece in 1858, and Egypt in 1866, where he made in-depth studies of the human form, and created numerous very realistic sculptures. This work depicts a young, dark-skinned boy with a bare chest and ample drapery covering his head and shoulders.