After Antoine Coysevox
1640-1720 • French
Venus a La Tortue
In this exceptional and intriguing 19th-century bronze figure entitled Venus a La Tortue, the goddess Venus rests atop a tortoise. Cast after the exceptional sculpture entitled “Vénus accroupie” (Venus crouched) by Royal artist Antoine Coysevox, now housed in Puget Court of the Louvre Museum, this bronze is a work of exquisite classical beauty. In it, the goddess is depicted a if surprised while bathing, kneeling in a stream and accompanied by a tortoise. Considered a symbol of fertility, this lowly animal was nonetheless an appropriate companion for the goddess of love. Coysevox was said to have been directly influenced by the antique marble version of the Crouching Venus at the Borghese Gallery in Rome when he created the large marble original on which this bronze is modeled, and which Coysevox made for the Tapis Vert in Versailles in 1686. Set atop a base of carved Rouge Griotte marble and ebonized wood, this figure is simply captivating.
French sculptor Antoine Coysevox (1640-1720) was almost certainly the most prominent sculptor at the court of Louis XIV. He executed over 200 pieces of sculpture, including garden statues, religious works, portrait busts, reliefs, and tombs, including the tomb of Cardinal Mazarin, which is now housed in the Louvre in Paris. Proficient in the baroque and antique styles, he was also the king’s official court painter, producing numerous portraits and busts for the king and the court. Most notably, his work is thought to reflect a shift in official French taste from the classicism of the 1660s and 1670s to the Italianate baroque style, even though he had never been to Italy. Considered to be an inventive virtuoso, Coysevox foreshadowed the exuberant Rococo style. Today his work can be viewed in some of the most prestigious museums in the world, including the Hermitage Museum, in Saint Petersburg, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., London’s Royal Collection, Courtauld Institute of Art, National Portrait Gallery and Wallace Collection, and the Frick Collection in New York City.
18 7/8” high
The French Bronze 1500-1800, 1968, M. Knoedler and Co.
French Sculptors of the 17th and 18th Centuries: The Reign of Louis XIV, 1977, B.F. Souchal