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Marius Jean Antonin Mercié


Marius Jean Antonin Mercié was born in Toulouse on October 30th, 1845 and died in Paris on December 13th 1916, he was a french painter and sculptor.
He entered the Paris School of Beaux Arts were he was teached by Alexandre Falguière and François Jouffroy. 
In 1868, he won the Grand Prix de Rome with "Theseus vanquisher of the Minotor". In 1872, he sent the plaster model of his "David Victorious" from the Villa Medicis in Rome to the Paris Salon and won a first class medal for it. In the same year, and it is an unique fact wich went down in the history, the Villa Medicis in Rome awarded him the cross of the Legion of Honour. It was the biginning of success with his "David" and "Gloria Victis" exhibited at the 1872 Paris Salon.

He was a member of the Neo-Florentine.

The plaster model was exhibited at the 1872 Paris Salon and the 1900 Paris World's Fair.
A marble specimen was exhibited at the 1889 Paris World's Fair.

Bronze "DAVID VAINQUEUR" by Marius Jean Antonin Mercié, medal patina
Signed  A.Mercié and the F.Barbedienne Fondeur foundry mark
Height  29.13 inch


  • Exposition Universelle : Welt-Ausstellung 1873 in Wien, Vienne, Autriche, 1873
  • Exposition Universelle, Paris, France, 1878
  • Rodin Rediscovered, Washington, Etats-Unis, 1981
  • From Courbet to Cézanne, a new 19th century - Preview of the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, New York, Etats-Unis, 1986
  • From Courbet to Cézanne, a new 19th century - Preview of the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, Dallas, Etats-Unis, 1986
  • Paris-Bruxelles/Bruxelles-Paris, Paris, France, 1997
  • Paris-Bruxelles/Bruxelles-Paris, Gand, Belgique, 1997


  • 1872, acquis après commande
  • 1874, attribué aux Musées nationaux
  • à partir de 1874, au musée du Luxembourg
  • attribué au musée du Louvre
  • à partir de 1927, au musée du Louvre (reversement du musée du Luxembourg)
  • 1986, affecté au musée d'Orsay

His bronze "David Victorious" is one of his most famous work.

The bible character is shown with Goliath's head at his feet, like Donatello's David, sheathing his sword.Thebronze was then exhibited in the square Montholon,in Paris. Mercié signed 100 original copies with Barbedienne as bronze founder. Marius Jean Antoinin Mercié represents the syncretism trend in style which characterizes a lot of XIXth century artists who searched the past for inspiration because they had broken away from both neo-classicism and romantism. Middle-Age, Italian Renaissance, French styles of the XVIIth and XVIIIth century were to be revisited by different styles which are sometimes gathered under the name of "eclectism". At first sight, the extremely classic manufacture of this "David" suggests a synthesis of works from the Renaissance. Yet, there is not much of Michelangelo's or Donatello's into it. His borrowing from Cellini's "Perseus" is more visible. (Benvenuto Cellini, "Persée" Florence 1545-1554). The great success of this work shows however that it was perceived as a complete whole rather than a synthesis. As if Mercié had taken the best in his predecessors and had managed to improve upon them.

PARC DE BUZENVAL (Hauts-de-Seine)
 Marius Jean Antonin Mercié's speech during the inauguration of the new bust of the painter Henri Regnault (1843 - 1871)
Marius Jean Antonin Mercié in his workshop in1908.

Among the paintings exhibited by Mercié, "Venus" gained a medal at the 1883 Salon, "Léda" (1884) and "Michelangelo studying anatomy" are his most expressive works.

Mercié started to paint in 1880 but it was as a sculptor that he was most praised and known for. He became a drawing and sculpture teacher at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and member of the French Academy in 1891. He received the title of Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour and three years before he died he was made president of the french Société des Artistes in 1913.

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