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Bellone

Henry J. Simonds, Pittsburgh, PA
March 17, 2010
Ed. of 5 - 30”x 22½” x 1”
Piezo print on archival polymer paper on aluminum
Signed, titled, dated, and numbered on back of mount


In 1879, François Paul Jules Grévy was elected President of the Third French Republic.  His election was seen as the symbolic end to the imperial era and marked a change in regime in favor of the new majority republican Senate.  To celebrate their victory and glorify the Republic, the leadership undertook a campaign to create a series of monuments to be placed in district halls and municipal facilities throughout Paris.  A model of Bellona (La Bellone) (c. 1879) was submitted by August Rodin in an unsuccessful bid to win the commission for the mairie of the thirteenth arrondissement.  An allegorical symbol of the Republic, the bust depicts the defiant Ancient Roman goddess of war, Bellona. The goddess, often depicted wearing a helmet and carrying a spear, has proved popular in post-Renaissance art as a female embodiment of military virtue.  Ironically, the model for the sculpture was Rose Beuret, Rodin’s steadfast lover and wife, whom he met in 1862 and who quietly stood by his side and supported his efforts for fifty-two years. 
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