This marble bas-relief presents a young shepherd with an antique cannon and costume, asleep on his staff, guarded by his faithful companion. It is possible to identify here Endymion, famous shepherd of Greek mythology. Lover of Selene, goddess of the moon, the latter is plunged by his mistress into an eternal sleep so that he can keep his beauty. This myth is echoed in English literature in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, but also in the fine arts where the theme of "the pastoral" and representations of shepherds and shepherds are an important success. As evidenced by a marble in bas-relief of similar typology to ours; preserved at the Victoria & Albert Museum and attributed to the sculptor William Collins; which features a shepherd and a shepherdess dressed in contemporary fashion. The typological and stylistic proximity that exists between these two works, leads us to attribute the Sleep of Endymion to the same author, William Collins, or his famous Master, Henry Cheere. Both men were particularly recognized for the quality and beauty of their fireplace decorations. Endymion's sleep was undoubtedly part of one of those rich settings.
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