Etienne-Jules Marey's bas-relief

This monumental bas-relief of Etienne-Jules Marey can be found near Court 1 (nicknamed the "Bullring" because of its circular shape) of Stade Roland Garros in Paris (2 Avenue Gordon-Bennett). In 1979, the old Institut Marey - the last remnant of the original Marey's Station Physiologique in the Bois de Boulogne - was destroyed in order to make way for the expansion of Roland Garros tennis stadium1, but the monument dedicated to Marey since 1914 was saved and relocated in its actual position.


The bas-relief, sculpted by F.Auban, had been commissioned by the International Association of the Institut Marey shortly after the scientist's death in 1904, but was inaugurated only on June 3, 1914, at the presence of Marey's longtime friend Charles Richet and of the President of the French Republic, Raymond Poincaré, on the grounds of the Station Physiologique2.

"Marey himself is depicted measuring the data given by a graph he has just removed from one of his inscriptors. The horses whose movements his machine has traced gallop one by one over his head as if in a dream. Reliefs of the graphic inscriptors and cameras he created are interspersed over the rest of the arch with reliefs of running men and soaring birds. There are no allegorical figures or wreaths, just the array of animate and inanimate machines to testify to the febrile imagination of their creator3.

  • Photos by Luca Borghi ti.supmacinu|ihgrob.l#| (July 2014), courtesy of the Roland Garros welcome service.

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