The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Venus Chastising Cupid
  • Joseph Broche (c. 1740 - after 1801) , or
  • Jean-Baptiste-Ignache Broche (1741 - 1794)
    Follower of Étienne Maurice Falconet (1716 - 1791), Probably
  • Venus Chastising Cupid
  • France
  • c. 1760 - 1800
  • Statuette
  • Marble
  • Height: 37.5 cm
  • S28
  • Dining Room
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • The naked Venus is shown standing astride a tree trunk, holding Cupid across her knee and striking him with a posy. This is one of many versions of Cupid's punishment for having caused havoc with his arrows, the others involving harsher punishments like the clipping of his wings.

    With its pair (S29), this group belongs to a number of similar decorative marble sculptures inspired by the work of Etienne Maurice Falconet (1716 – 1791) and now attributed to the Broche brothers.

    Falconet was one of the leading sculptors of the mid-eighteenth century. In 1757 he exhibited at the Salon a large-scale marble figure of a Nymph descending into the Bath which obtained universal praise, sparking a taste for similar, subtly erotic, delicately modelled decorative pieces. This fashion was made even more popular by the production of biscuit replicas of Falconet’s most prestigious models undertaken by the Sèvres factory under the sculptor’s supervision in 1757-1766 (see C492 and C494).

    Among the endless surviving marble versions of subjects treated or inspired by Falconet, and clearly the work of followers, some groups can be isolated for their higher quality.

    In the catalogues of the Rohan-Chabot (1777) and Briard (1778) sales, this model appears paired with a group representing Venus Caressing Cupid attributed to Joseph and Ignace Broche respectively. Stylistic comparison with these models has led art historians to attribute to the Broche brothers a larger group of marble sculptures with Venus and Cupid in various attitudes, formerly linked to the name of Falconet.

    Together with the Flemish sculptor Antoine Tassaert (1727 – 1788), the Broche brothers were particularly active in this type of production.