Ugolino and His Sons

Last Updated: 20 Apr 2022
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He won the Prix de Rome in 1854 which enabled him to live in Rome (1856 - 1862). During that time he was influenced by the works of Italian sculptors of the Renaissance period such as Michelangelo, Donatello, and Andrea Del Verrocchio. He also started to increase his focus of studies on complex sculptures and bas-reliefs. His passion led him to start carving several pieces on marble before the famous work of art "Ugolino and His Sons". Carpeaux was considered as one of the mainstream artists in Eclecticism.

This movement wanted to exceed Neoclassicism and Romanticism and also described the ombination, in a single work, of elements from different historical styles. Carpeaux received many honors during his lifetime until two months before he died prematurely of cancer at the age of 48 in Courbevoie in 1875 CE. The sculpture snows (Figure 1 a man sitting on a stone cu tted witn chains in his legs. The man's facial expressions seemed as grief while biting the tip of some of his fingers. The wrinkles on top of his eyes with his curled toes on each other gave the sense of a clueless situation the man was put in.

Surrounding him, there're four ifferent-aged kids; two of them on the left side of their father's position, as they gave the emotion of looking at their father begging. And on the right side, there're the two other kids where the smallest kid fell on the ground looking dead. The sculpture depicts the tale of a traitor who was the Count of Donoratico and was imprisoned by the archbishop Ruggieri degli Ubaldini in the late thirteenth century Oune 1288). The archbishop imprisoned Ugolino with his sons and grandsons in the "Tower of Hunger".

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Also, the archbishop ordered the soldiers to throw the keys of Ugolinds rison in the Arno River so that there's no way for them to be set free. They were sentenced to be left to starve in February 1289. Ugolino had this prophetic dream of the archbishop and his soldiers as the lord and huntsman killing the wolf the wolf cubs (Ugolino and his offspring). Ugolino had his heart-broken for hearing his sons sobbing in their sleep asking for bread. He also kept his feelings inside, he had never wept, and he used to watch his kids weeping but him feeling clueless paralyzed- thinking.

Yet his offspring dreams couldn't fill their stomach. Ugolinds kids started to ook at him, wondered why he turned out to look like a stone, biting his fingers and curling his toes of one leg on top of the other one. For them, they thought that their father is starving Just like them or maybe more but for Ugolino himself, he was biting his fingers in anguish, weeping inside for not being able to feed his offspring. Therefore, they started to offer their bodies to their father so he can eat and survive.

After few days, his offspring started to fall down dead one by another till the last one died on the sixth day. This part is quoted from "The Divine Comedy, Vol. l: Inferno Canto 33) - Dante Alighieri". It illustrates moments of death of Ugolinds offspring and the mystery behind the possibility of Cannibalism: "l calmed myself to make them less unhappy. That day we sat in silence, and the next day. O pitiless Earth! You should have swallowed us! The fourth day came, and it was on that day My Gaddo fell prostrate before my feet, Crying: Why dont you help me?

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Ugolino and His Sons. (2018, Jun 17). Retrieved from

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