- François Boucher
- An allegory of poetry
- oil on circular canvas
His sale, Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, 6 June 1912, lot 133;
Baroness Valentine Springer (nee Rothschild), Vienna;
Sold forcibly to the Gemäldegalerie des Kunsthistorischen Museums, Vienna (inv. 6998) and restituted on November 26 1947;
With Galerie Segoura, Paris;
From whom purchased by the present collectors.
This composition derives from a three-figure composition, also an Allegory of Poetry, sold in the Mentmore sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet, on 25 May 1977, lot 2443. A variant of that picture, generally ascribed to Boucher and Studio (signed and dated 1753), is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (acc. no. 69.155.2). In the present picture, as in the Mentmore version, the central infant Apollo holds a lyre, a traditional symbol of lyric poetry, as he crowns the infant Cupid with a laurel wreath; beside Cupid is a pair of doves. Furthermore, as in the Mentmore version, Cupid writes the following in his scroll:
Qu'il triomphe & regne à jamais / Entre les beaux Arts & la Glorie. / Elevons ce Heros du char de la Victoire / Au Trône de la Paix
We are grateful to Alastair Laing for his assistance in the cataloguing of this lot.