The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Venus Suckling Cupid
  • Joseph Broche (c. 1740 - after 1801) , Probably
  • Jean-Baptiste-Ignache Broche (1741 - 1794), Probably
    Follower of Étienne Maurice Falconet (1716 - 1791), Probably
  • Venus Suckling Cupid
  • France
  • c. 1760 - 1800
  • Statuette
  • Marble
  • Height: 33.7 cm
  • S29
  • Dining Room
Further Reading
  • Perched on a draped tree-trunk, the naked Venus holds the infant Cupid in her arms offering her breast to him. This marble statuette and its pair (S28) can be linked to a series of groups with Venus and Cupid inspired by the work of Etienne Maurice Falconet (1716 – 1791) and now by many attributed to the brothers Joseph and Ignace Broche.

    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 sale of the collection of the duc de Rohan-Chabot (1777) and that of the Briard collection (1778) two small marble sculptures representing Venus Chastising Cupid and Venus Caressing Cupid are 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.