Constantin Meunier (12 April 1831 – 4
April 1905) was a Belgian painter and sculptor, born in Etterbeek,
Constantin Meunier was born in the traditionally working-class area
of Etterbeek, near Brussels.
His first exhibit was a plaster sketch, The Garland, shown at
the Brussels Salon in 1851. Soon afterwards, on the advice of the
painter Charles de Groux (fr), he abandoned the chisel for the
brush. His first important painting, The Salle St Roch (1857), was
followed by a series of paintings including A Trappist Funeral
(1860), Trappists Ploughing (1863), in collaboration with Alfred
Verwee, Divine Service at the Monastery of La Trappe (1871) and
episodes of the German Peasants' War (1878).
About 1880 he was commissioned to
illustrate those parts of Camille Lemonnier's description of Belgium
in Le Tour du monde which referred to miners and factory-workers,
and produced In the Factory, Smithery at Cockerill's, Melting Steel
at the Factory at Seraing (1882), Returning from the Pit, and The
Broken Crucible (1884).
In 1882 he was employed by the
government to copy Pedro de Campaña's Descent from the Cross at
Seville, and in Spain he painted such characteristic pictures as The
Café Concert, Procession on Good Friday, and The Tobacco Factory at
Seville (Brussels Gallery). On his return to Belgium he was
appointed professor at the Louvain Academy of Fine Arts.
In 1885 he returned to statuary and
produced The Puddler, The Hammerer (1886), Firedamp (1889, Brussels
Gallery), Le Débardeur (modeled 1885; many castings made 1889–1905),
Ecce Homo (1891), The Old Mine-Horse (1891), The Mower (1892), The
Glebe (1892), the monument to Father Damien at Louvain (1893),
Puddler at the Furnace (1893), the scheme of decoration for the
Botanical Garden of Brussels in collaboration with the sculptor
Charles van der Stappen (1893), The Horse at the Pond, in the square
in the north-east quarter of Brussels, and two unfinished works, the
Monument to Labour and the Émile Zola monument, in collaboration
with the French sculptor Alexandre Charpentier.
The Monument to Labour, which was
acquired by the State for the Brussels Gallery, comprises four stone
bas-reliefs: Industry, The Mine, Harvest, and the Harbour; four
bronze statues: The Sower, The Smith, The Miner, and the Ancestor;
and a bronze group, Maternity.
He was one of the co-founders of
the Société Libre des Beaux-Arts of Brussels and was a member of the
International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers.
He was a freemason, and a member of the lodge Les Amis Philanthropes
of the Grand Orient of Belgium in Brussels.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Meunier died at Brussels on 4 April 1905.