The Courtauld Collection

Sculpture

Ivory diptych with scenes from the Childhood and Passion of Christ


The Courtauld houses a wide-ranging collection of sculpture from Antiquity to the 20th century. Examples are displayed throughout the Gallery. The earliest include Northern Renaissance wooden sculptures devotional Virgin and Child groups and Italian Renaissance reliefs, in marble, plaster or terracotta.

The collection extends to 18th- and 19th-century portraits, such as Paul Gaugin’s marble head of his Danish wife, Mette.  Only two marble sculptures by Gaugin are known, this portrait head and one of his son, Emile, carved in the same year.  Two world-famous bronzes of ballet dancers by Edgar Degas are displayed with the artist’s paintings, offering the visitor a rare chance to study at close hand the commonalities between the two.

The sculpture collection continues into the 20th century, with stone and bronze works by Henri Matisse, Auguste Rodin and César, and with works by important sculptors of the British School, such as Frank Dobson, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Antony Caro and Philip King.

Additionally, the Gallery also cares for a small collection of African and Oceanic wood carvings and sculpture acquired by the Bloomsbury Group art critic and artist, Roger Fry, whose writings on non-Western, and especially African, art, were highly influential in Britain. A highlight of this collection is the reliquary guardian figure made by the Kota Peoples of Gabon. 18th and 19th-century plaster casts after well-known antique marbles are displayed in the reception area of the Courtauld Institute of Art.