France, first quarter of the 18th century
Carved, pierced and gilt wood
This trophy in carved, pierced, and gilt wood represents military attributes such as a wreathed oriental saber in its scabbard, around which hangs a laurel wreath, a quiver and its arrows, on an oval shield background, while the end of a bow protrudes. Above, on the right, a bearded man with closed eyes stands next to a drum covered with a drapery and a hat. Higher up, one sees a trumpet and various foliage complete the decor.
The reference to Antiquity in the grand decors
The shape of the trophy, inherited from an ancient tradition of hanging the enemy’s arms from a tree or a pillar on the battlefield, quickly became an ornamental motif deployed on several medium in the modern period, through the Renaissance and up to the end of the 18th century. Two types of trophies coexist, one through the attributes, the other, more decorative, through its formal composition.
As trophies were not intended to serve a historical discourse, their iconography had a timeless and transposable dimension.
The war trophy, as in our example, mixes various weapons. They are chosen for their dimensions and their plasticity in order to achieve a harmonious composition. Following the progress of military techniques, the integration of new instruments of war such as the cannon, allow to gather ancient weapons and more recent inventions, as in Jacques Androuet du Cerceau examples. Captured slaves as well as allegories of victors were sometimes integrated.
The theme of abundance and military strength, rarely symbolized by oriental attributes, but more often by lictors’ bundles, musical instruments or signs of the Roman army. Sublimated, it can be found on falls in gilt, melted and chiseled bronze by the goldsmith Ladoyreau from models by the sculptors Buirette and Lespingola in the Grande Galerie of Versailles as soon as 1703. The latter present antic, terrestrial but also maritime weapons.
Alexandre Maral, « La Grande Galerie et l’antique. La place de la sculpture », Versalia, n°16, 2013, p. 129-142.
Chloé Perrot, « Le trophée dans tous ses états », Gallica, 16 septembre 2020.
Bruno Pons, Les grands décors, 1650-1800, Dijon, Éditions Faton, 1995.
3 000 €
1 600 €