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232

Probably French, 18th/ 19th century

Study of a Fallen Man in Agony

Probably French, 18th/ 19th century

Probably French, 18th/ 19th century

Study of a Fallen Man in Agony

Study of a Fallen Man in Agony

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Probably French, 18th/ 19th century

Study of a Fallen Man in Agony


terracotta

17 by 25cm., 6¾ by 9⅞in.

Overall in good condition with minor surface dirt and wear consistent with age. There is a well-concealed restored break to the base on the right side and through the figure's proper left wrist.


Please note that Condition 12 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers (Online Only) is not applicable to this lot.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

Arthur M. Sackler (1913-1987), New York; 
Sale of his heirs, Sotheby's, New York, 29 January 2010, lot 497;
Private collection, UK
C. Avery, Fingerprints of the Artist: European Terracotta Sculpture from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, exh. cat., The National Gallery of Art, Washington; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 1979-1982, pp. 174-175, no. 77 
Washington, D.C., The National Gallery of Art; New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Cambridge, The Fogg Art Museum; Fingerprints of the Artist: European Terracotta Sculpture from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, 1979-1982, no. 77

This expressive terracotta of a reclining man is a nude study of intense emotion. The figure leans back uncomfortably on the ground, his head thrown back with an expression of anguish on his face. He is a figure either in supplication, or who appears to be wounded. This iconography relates directly to the famous antique marble of the Dying Gladiator, which has inspired sculptors since its discovery around 1623. This is only the starting point for the present bozzetto in which the man looks up in agony, rather than down in noble submission. This composition could have formed part of an equestrian group of a ruler trampling his foe, comparable to the Hubert Le Sueur bronze group of Henri IV on horseback trampling his Enemy in the V&A (inv. no. A1-1992), or represent a general concept such as abandonment.


When this terracotta was catalogued as part of the Sackler collection (Avery, op. cit.) it was associated with works close to Pierre Puget in terms of the technique, and with French sculpture around 1700 generally in terms of the prevalence at the time for male subjects with a febrile and agonized appearance, which challenged the sculptors ability to convey extreme emotion. The position of the head and shoulders, and agonised expression in this terracotta can be compared in feeling with Pierre Puget’s famous Milo of Croton marble in the Louvre (inv. no. MR2075).


The technique of using small distinct patches of clay to build up the anatomy is handled with confidence and demonstrates the sculptor’s assured understanding of anatomy. Some areas, such as the right leg are smoothed down and there is a bold incision defining the chest. The sculptor has explored the figure in the round and powerfully conveys the expiring strength of his subject. An attribution to the English sculptor Caius Gabriel Cibber (1630-1700) on the basis of a compositional affinity his figures on the gates of Bedlam Hospital has been mooted, but at present this powerful terracotta defies a definitive attribution.