Rare patinated terracotta medallion representing Juliette Récamier (Lyon 1756-1813) in profile bust.
The young beauty queen is dressed in a simple chiffon dress that shows the top of her breasts and part of her back.
Her hair is pulled up and held in place by a comb and a large headband adorned with antique dancers.
The medallion is signed "Chinard" on the border, under the bust.
Original frame in gilded wood.
Workshop of Joseph Chinard *, Paris, Consulate period.
Diameter: frame: 31 cm; medallion: 23 cm
-Museum of the Petit Palais Paris, terracotta medallion
-House of François René de Chateaubriand, Châtenay-Malabry, terracotta
-Lyon Gadagne museum, patinated plaster
-Penha Longa patinated plaster collection
“Juliette Récamier, muse and patron”, Musée des beaux arts de Lyon, Hazan 2009 edition, Page 67
“Lyon artists from the origins to the present day”, Lyon 1911, page 34
Joseph Chinard (1756-1813) is a French sculptor.
Born in Lyon, he first attended the School of Drawing under the direction of Donat Nonotte before entering the studio of the sculptor Barthélemy Blaise (1738-1819).
From 1784 to 1789, Joseph Chinard stayed in Rome in order to improve his technique and train his artistic taste by copying many ancient statues. In 1786, with "Perseus delivering Andromeda" he won the first sculpture prize in the Balestra competition of the Academy of San Luca. During the Revolution, he was favorable to new ideas and made two stays of 6 and 2 months in prison, the first for having displeased the Jacobins, the second for the Pope.
Joseph Chinard exhibited for the first time at the Paris Salon in 1798 where he presented "Child escaping the shipwreck by making a basket with the weapons of love". After a third and final trip to Rome, he returned to Lyon in 1800 where he settled permanently. Enjoying a good reputation, he was appointed correspondent of the Institute, before becoming in 1807, by imperial decree, professor of sculpture at the Special School of Drawing in Lyon.
Joseph Chinard received in 1808 the Great Gold Medal of the Paris Salon. French neoclassical sculptor, he is recognized as one of the greatest sculptors of his time for the fidelity of his execution, the rendering of the flesh in his busts, and the imagination of his compositions. He died at 57 of a ruptured aneurysm.
Our opinion :
As with his first bust of young Juliette, Chinard here expresses the extent of his modeling skills.
Represented in a pose that nevertheless seems innocuous, he manages to transcribe the beauty of the young girl perfectly.
The complexity of her hairstyle, which contrasts with the apparent simplicity of her dress, shows us how much the young girl takes care of her appearance.
By the judicious choice of this hairstyle, our sculptor brings a maximum of sensuality by offering to the gaze of the admirer, the neck, the shoulder and part of the chest.
With an impression of lightness, he even suggests the transparency of her muslin dress.
The rendering of the face with these rounded cheeks and these full lips parted, finishes the magnificent portrait of the one who was one of the most beautiful women of her time.
It was for all of her reasons that Juliette Récamier chose Joseph Chinard after their meeting in the 1790s in Paris.
The young sculptor will prove him right by delivering wonderful representations of his new muse.
The young beauty who received a lot of people likes to offer her little medallions and her small busts to her loved ones, the molds of which she treasures.
As she wishes she will use them and have a Chinard student produce the different models.
A letter of 1805 enlightens us on this practice, the so-called "Banoffe" wrote to Chinard:
“My dear teacher,
I am glad that the opportunity has presented itself to me to remember you. Madame Récamier having two days ago promised her little bust to a few people, she asked me to have them executed: I was consequently in the little room of which Monsieur Récamier's servant has the key. I did find the mold of the large bust and the medallions, but the mold of the small bust is not there. It is not found anywhere; I was told that, as the mold belonged to you, you packed it for Lyon… ”