The present relief is notable for its virtuoso carving and highly finished surface. The locks of hair are carved in high relief and are pierced with drill holes, creating a chiaroscuro effect. Conceptually, the relief is reminiscent of roundels and coins with profile portraits representing Louis XIV and Louis XV, such as the marble relief of Louis XIV aged 46 by Pierre Puget (1620-1694) at Versailles. Stylistically, however, the Baroque treatment of the hair and idealised facial features place the present relief closer to the work of Nicolas Coustou (1658-1733) and his brother Guillaume (1677-1746). Compare, for example, with the head of Adonis in Coustou’s Chasseur au repos (Musée du Louvre, inv. no. MR 1796); note the comparable high relief treatment of the hair and ears. Compare also with the portrait bust of Louis XVI in Coustou’s marble relief entitled, Le Dieu de la Santé montre à la France le buste de Louis XIV, roi de France, dit aussi Allégorie rappelant la guérison du roi (Louvre, inv. no. MR 2735). A further comparison can be made with Guillaume Coustou’s portrait relief roundel adorning the tomb of the Maréchal d’Estrées (Souchal, op. cit. pl. 23c).
F. Souchal, Les frères Coustou, Paris, 1980, pls. 16b, 23a-d, 49b; J-R Gaborit, G. Bresc-Bautier, I. Leroy-Jay Lemaistre and G. Scherf (eds.), Sculpture française II – Renaissance et temps modernes. Vol. 1 Adam-Gois, cat. Musée du Louvre, Paris, 1998, pp. 161-70