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The Prodigal Son Constantin Meunier


Constantin Meunier Etterbeek, 1831 – Ixelles, 1905

Date model: 1895; marble carving: ca. 1900
Object type sculpture
Medium, technique marble

93 × 40 × 84 cm, 226 kg

Inventory number 3856.U
Collection Department of Art after 1800
On view This artwork is not on display

The Belgian sculptor, Constantin Meunier, similarly to his friend, Auguste Rodin, played an important role in the development of modern sculpture. Besides making works on traditional religious themes, Meunier was the first to immortalise dockers, factory workers, and coal miners in sculpted form. In 1887 he was appointed to a teaching post at the Leuven Academy, and in the years that followed he proved extremely prolific, producing a whole series of masterpieces. His first version of the scene from the Parable of the Prodigal Son, in which the father wore a beard, was made in 1892. The choice of subject was probably prompted by the fact that his youngest son had just left the family nest to embark on a long journey. Two years later, both of Meunier’s sons died within a short period of time. While mourning, the sculptor turned to the biblical story once more, and in 1895 he produced a slightly modified version of the composition.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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