France, Louis XVI period, last third of the 18th century
Chased and gilt bronze
The dial is signed à Paris
- Jacques-Thomas Bréant, Love and Fidelity, Louis XVI period, sent in September 1807 at the Palais de Rambouillet, Paris, Mobilier national (inv. GML-5917)
This born clock presents a base in white marble and is adorned with chased and gilt bronze. It represents Love and Fidelity, with their attributes.
On the left, stands a young woman, crowned with vine leaves, dressed in a Greek tunica which pan leans along the case. Bent, she holds in her right-hand Love. The latter, perched on the right on a swarm of clouds, adorned with a quiver, holds out his hand. With her second hand, the young woman pets the back of a small spaniel, finely chiseled. Its circular case, belted by a garland of roses, rests on a white marble base, surrounded by a gilt bronze frieze.
The overall rests on a white marble base, slightly in recess and underlined by a beaded frieze, the front body embellished with a large interlacing, gilt bronze frieze, adorned with flowers. The base terminates with four spinning top legs, in transplanted gilt bronze.
The mythological theme of Love
The art of the 18th century makes a constant appeal to Greek and Roman mythology, which understanding is essential to perceive the dimension of the works of art of this period, always allusive and poetic. Here, the sculptor took some liberties with the stories of the history of Love, bequeathed to us by Apollodore, Ovid and Hyginus, introducing, in addition to the figure of Cupid, a small spaniel, symbol of Fidelity, to balance the composition and complete its meaning. The result is an impression of nobility and aesthetic perfection.
All along the 18th century, the theme of Love is an endless source of inspiration for the bronzers and the ornementalists, it was then well presented within the decorative arts. Some renowned sculptors indeed regularly supplied models to bronzers who were then integrated to works of art. In the 18th century, in particular during the period of Louis XVI’s reign, it exists a large number
of clocks adorned with one or more figures of small putti, the presence of attributes, like the quiver on this model, permitting to reveal the main idea of the author of the model. It personifies Cupid, attributes traditionally associated to Cupid, son of Venus and Mars (of the latin cupido, “desire”), in the Roman mythology. Devoted servitor to his mother, this motif refer to the legend which, according to mythology, wanted that anyone touched by the arrows of Cupid falls in love.
Ernest Dumonthier, Les Bronzes du Mobilier National. Pendule et Cartel, Paris, 1912.
Elke Niehuser, French Bronze Clock 1700-1830, London, Shiffer Publications, p. 210, n°308. Hans Ottomeyer, Peter Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen - Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, München, Klinkhardt & Biermann, 1986.
Giacomo Wannenes, La più belle pendole francesi – Da Liuigi L.XIV all’Impero, Leonardo Éditions, 1991, p.90.
48 000 €
4 200 €