Guy Le Perse

Bronze sculpture – Male nude – Slave I

Guy Le Perse

Slave I

Date : c. XXI

Dimensions : H : 50 cm ; L : 32,5 cm ; P : 42,5 cm

place of production: Lille

Material : Bronze patina

Condition : Very good condition

Conditions & disponibilité: SOLD


of work

Bronze statue of a slave with tied hands

This bronze sculpture depicts a naked, kneeling man. With his hands bound above his head, the subject is in a general attitude of supplication.
In his “Slaves” series, sculptor Guy Le Perse presents us with both victims and executioners, hostages and jailers.
Enslaved by a tyrant without weapon or yoke, without form or consistency, without materiality or existence, the slaves struggle against the invisible fetters of their own torments.
When they reach the point of imbalance, however, they have the opportunity to stand up and free themselves. The tension of their muscles, the twisting of their limbs and the weakness of their bonds bear witness to this.
But do they have the will to cross over to the other side of certainties and bondage? To stop thinking that their suffering conforms to their destiny, and consider that perhaps their destiny conforms to their suffering?
Are they even aware of the inner executioner who damns them while they’re still alive?

" Vile slave still under the yoke of sin, To the devil he dreads he remains attached," - Boileau, Épît. XI.

Guy le Perse : portrait de l'artiste Guy le Perse en train de modeler une sculpture

Guy Le Perse

Roubaix (France) 1953

Sculptor Guy Le Perse trained at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Industries Textiles in Roubaix and the École des Beaux-Arts in Douai. Guy Le Perse’s masters were the sculptor Armand DEBEVE, whose model he used for some of his works, and the painter and engraver Auguste-Jean GAUDIN. From his masters, he drew a very high personal standard in the mastery of gesture and in the realization of his works.
A complete and expert artist, mastering both burin engraving and painting, Guy Le Perse worked for many years for a number of prestigious clients. While practicing sculpture as a personal and secret philosophy, Guy Le Perse taught at schools of applied art and fine art schools in northern France.
Shortly before the year 2000, Guy Le Perse decided to devote himself primarily to sculpture. Guy Le Perse has produced a powerful and profound figurative body of work in the great tradition of French statuary, one of the richest and most beautiful in the world.
Through his work, Guy Le Perse perpetuates the excellence of French sculpture, which illustrious artists such as Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux and Auguste Rodin have brought to the pinnacle, its rightful place.

Drawing on the foundations and mysteries of the human soul that the great myths and founding texts explain to us, Guy Le Perse has created a timeless work of great beauty, combining strength and delicacy.
Fiercely independent throughout his professional life, he is also independent with the times. Guy Le Perse’s sculptures do not follow fashions or trends ; they are timeless. With no concessions to the times, Guy Le Perse’s works speak of the human tragedy to the man of yesterday and to the man who will contemplate them a thousand years from now.
A demanding perfectionist, Guy Le Perse carries out the entire manufacturing process for his bronzes himself, apart from casting the bronze. Guy Le Perse’s mastery of model modelling, chasing and patination is equally exacting, and he accompanies his works right down to the smallest detail.

the work

in its context

Taken from the Esclaves series by sculptor Guy Le Perse, the bronze sculpture presented here is reminiscent of the eponymous series that Michelangelo created around 1510 and again in 1530 for various designs of a tomb for Pope Julius II. These works by the great Michelangelo are supposed to have been created to represent the Arts afflicted by the pope’s death. These marble sculptures, which, like the sketch for Slave IV that we are also presenting, remained in the sketch stage, and are now in the Louvre and the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence.


Guy Le Perse’s work is not about suffering or submission imposed by an external force. No, it’s all about inner afflictions and personal torments that man imposes on himself.
Both executioner and jailer of themselves, Guy Le Perse’s Esclaves struggle with their own constraints. Outwardly, their tormented bodies show all the tension and submission a man can impose on himself.

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