Terra cotta statue representing Flora, goddess of flowers, gardens, spring and fertility. She is represented as a young woman, wearing a crown of flowers, covered with a drapery, revealing her breasts and covering part of her thighs. She holds in her left hand a festoon of flowers (partly missing) springing from a tree trunk which rests on a square base.
Good state of conservation (small missing pieces and chips).
French work from the 19th century, after the statue by René Frémin kept in the Louvre museum*.
Height : 148 cm.
Base : 42 cm by 42 cm.
*Our statue is a copy of the masterpiece of René Frémin, a great French sculptor born in Paris in 1672 and who died in the same city in 1744. The original was commissioned by the direction of the king's buildings in 1706 to decorate the park of the castle of Marly, where it was delivered in 1709. Seized during the revolution, by the Commission des Monuments on August 30th, 1793 and destined for the future great museum, it adorned the Bourbon Palace before finally being sent on Germinal 6, Year 9 (March 27, 1801) to the consular castle of Malmaison, the new residence of Josephine de Beauharnais, where it remained until 1876. It will be given with several sculptures to Barbet de Joy, and attributed to the Louvre on March 9th, 1877 by the administration of domains, where it will be inventoried under the number RF265. A masterpiece of French sculpture, it can still be seen in the Cour Marly of the famous Parisian institution.
Bresc-Bautier G., La sculpture des jardins de Marly, Edition du Musée du Louvre.
F. Souchal, French sculptors of the 17th and 18th centuries, London, 1981, pp. 305-306, n° 14; B. Roscaco, "Les sculptures de Marly sous Louis XIV: influence vénitienne et destinée sous Louis XV," in Bulletin du Centre de recherche du château de Versailles, 2012; G. Gaborit, G. Bresc-Bautier, Sculpture française II -Renaissance et Temps Modernes, vol. 1, Louvre museum, Paris, 1998, p. 385.
Our opinion :
The statue we present is a faithful copy of the famous work of René Frémin, it is not a late casting but a true sculptor’s work.
Caution leads us to propose a dating of the 19th century, but it could very well be older. Indeed, several characteristics are typical of the techniques used by sculptors under the Ancien Régime :
- Use of a relatively clear and very stony clay.
- A realization in four independent parts, cooked separately before a final assembly and the application of a patina to unify the whole.
- Each element is reworked with a knife to accentuate the minute details (leaf veins, tree bark, hair...).
- Vivid expression of the face.
In his exhaustive work on the sculpture of the gardens of Marly, the author mentions that some terracotta copies of this work are "relatively old" and lists known models, some of which are dated :
- Sale of the Hankar collection, dated 1725.
- Sale in Orélans, Maître Louis Savot, 22nd of March 1990, dated 1754.
- Sale in Cannes, Maître Marc-Arthur Khon, September 13th of 1995, dated 1732.
Other examples in stone or marble are also dated from the 18th century.
The example we present, because of its great aesthetic qualities, could be part of this production realized on order under the Ancien Régime, for rich owners of castles from the nobility ; but it could also be the work of a sculptor studying French classical sculpture in a school of Fine Arts at the beginning of the 19th century.
Price : on request