A carved oak lifesize and articulated artist's mannequin, probably French, early 19th century
8,000 - 12,000 GBP
A carved oak lifesize and articulated artist's mannequin, probably French
early 19th century
fully articulating with peg and ball joints and moveable fingers
160cm. high; 5ft. 3in.
In overall good conserved condition. Overall with minor old marks and scratches consistent with age and use. Very minor chipping in some places, some example to a finger on the left hand and just below the knee on the left leg. The articulations seem to move well. One finger to its right hand is quite fragile and only the two small joints/phalanges closer to the tip of the finger are moving. There are signs of a break to its right foot, which has now been restored. Otherwise, of good appearance.
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Wooden mannequins, also known as lay figures, have been an ever-present element in artist’s studios since at least the Renaissance, found in the ateliers of Michelangelo, Titian, Edgar Degas, Giovanni Boldini and Gustave Courbet among countless others. These obliging and indefatigable models were used to study the figure, with its skeleton and musculature abstracted into geometric forms, and, perhaps more commonly, to recreate the drape of clothing or fabric and the resulting fall of light and shadow over the human form. By the end of the 18th century, demand from artists for accurately proportioned and fully articulating figures was so great that mannequin–makers went to ingenious and extraordinary lengths in order to engineer objects that are works of art in themselves.
An articulated mannequin was sold at Sotheby's New York, 19th century European Art, 6 November 2014, lot 1.