Offered by Galerie Pellat de Villedon
Furniture, works of art and paintings
Marble bust of a Roman emperor wearing a cuirass and a paludamentum.
Restorations of use, later pedestal
H. 90,5 (with pedestal) x W. 75 x D. 25 cm
The bust that we present today is characteristic of the taste for Antiquity that prevailed in France since the Italian wars. Ancient statuary was prized by kings, because in addition to its artistic dimension, it evoked a filiation between the imperial power of ancient Rome and that of the kings of modern France.
Our bust presents a very characteristic cuirass, in the shape of fish scales. It is decorated in its center with a figure of a gorgon, a symbol that the Greeks and then the Romans used to ward off bad luck (apotropaic sign). The presence of this cuirass, frequently associated with the outfit of the Praetorian Guard, may reflect the imperial desire to attract the good graces of this very influential army corps.
The quality of the carving is not limited to the cuirass, and can also be seen on the leather mantling sleeves that roll up delicately at their ends. The play of pleats offered by the paludamentum, held in place by a clasp, is another fine illustration of the sculptor's dexterity.
The bust is to be compared with a representation of the aged emperor Augustus, commissioned by King Louis XIV to decorate the facades of his marble court and royal court, now kept in the Louvre.
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