This fine plaque illustrates a seated woman who is presented a book and is crown by an other female figure. Some putti are working with printing instruments. The background evocates the inside of a temple with very low-relief carving.
Signed below on the left L. Luce in et fecit and inscribed on the right Les sciences et l’imprimerie.
Louis René Luce (1695 ?-1774) was an engraver of the king in the royal printing. This relief is the only survival witness of his talents apart from his illustration of an essay about typography (1771).
This composition was mentioned in 1906 at the moment of the sale ( Drouot 27th November 1906) of the terracotta modello, which bore the date 1744 (Lami, Dictionnaire des sculpteurs de l’école française au XVIIIème siècle, 1910-1911). This date corresponds with the aesthetic of the rocaille era of the draperies, faces ands attitudes. A later print (1761) of this subject shows the stylistic evolution of the artist. The treatment is much more classical, with stiffer figures and neoclassical decoration of the background. The etching is also helpful for understanding the scene. It is entitled L’Imprimerie présente aux sciences une épreuve et les couronnes (sic) au temple de mémoire. (The Printing is offering a proof to the Sciences and is crowning them in the Memory Temple)
Height: 39,5 cm
Width: 28,5 cm