The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Venus and Cupid
  • Jean-Pierre-Antoine Tassaert (1727 - 1788) , Possibly after a model by
  • Joseph Broche (c. 1740 - after 1801), Possibly after a model by
    Jean-Baptiste-Ignache Broche (1741 - 1794), Possibly after a model by
    Style of Étienne Maurice Falconet (1716 - 1791)
  • Venus and Cupid
  • France
  • c. 1770 - 1800
  • Statuette
  • Marble
  • Height: 32.4 cm
  • S30
  • Dining Room
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • This statuette of a naked Venus surrounding Cupid with a garland of roses is part of a pair of decorative marble sculptures reminiscent of the style of Etienne Maurice Falconet (1716 – 1791).

    Falconet was one of the leading sculptors of the mid-eighteenth century. He worked in marble, terracotta and bronze and among his patrons could count Madame de Pompadour (L’Amour Menaçant, 1755) and Catherine the Great of Russia (Equestrian monument of Peter the Great, 1782).

    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.

    For a long time a large number of small-scale figures had been attributed to Falconet himself, perhaps on the basis of his collaboration with the royal manufacture at Sèvres, where from 1757 to 1766 he supervised the production of small biscuit sculptures after his most popular models (see C492 and C494). In reality, there is only a generic similarity with female figures exhibited by Falconet at the Salon in the 1750s and 60s and no documentary evidence links these marbles to him.

    It is now generally accepted that these small sculptures were produced by other artists taking advantage of Falconet’s popularity. Artists like Tassaert and the Broche brothers seem to have been especially successful in the production of such small decorative sculptures of mythological subject. These were specifically intended to furnish interiors and rival biscuit sculpture which was very popular as a complement to the furniture of this period.