Nature Unveiling Herself Before Science

French (Paris)
About 1899
Louis-Ernest Barrias (French, 1841–1905)


Overall: 58.4 x 23 x 15.5 cm (23 x 9 1/16 x 6 1/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Bronze with various patinations, some areas silvered or gilded before patination

Not On View





Bronze with various surface patinations. Female figure, holding silvered veil away from face with both hands; breast and shoulders are naked (and gilt, as are face and hands); drapery under breast held by silvered scarab; drapery flows to bare, gilt feet.

This allegorical statue presents Nature as a woman wrapped in a cloak that she lifts from her upper body to reveal her face and breasts. Mystery is evoked by the veil and the action of unveiling. Luxury is conveyed by the rich and varied surface colors, which include green, silver, and gold. The figure’s sinuous pose and the fine folds of the drapery reflect the naturalistic patterns typical of the Art Nouveau style.


Signed at the proper left edge of the base “E. Barrias” in script with an underscore line.


Cold stamp of the foundry inscribed at the inside edge of a circle “SUSSE FRERES EDITEURS·PARIS·” at the proper right edge of the base with a stamped “P” to the right of the circle.


1974, sold by Michael Hall Fine Arts, New York, to the MFA. (Accession date: June 12, 1974)

Credit Line

Edwin E. Jack Fund