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Workshop of Jean-Jacques Caffieri (1725-1792)
French, late 18th century
River god,
light ocre terracotta; on a rectangular marble base
signed and dated J.J. Caffieri. ft1755
terracotta
24 x 39 cm; 9 1/2 x 15 1/4 in.
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來源

French private collection

出版

Burckhardt, Mobilier Louis XVI, Paris, n.d. (v. 1976), p. 57.
J. Guiffrey, Les Caffieri. Sculpteurs et Fondeurs Ciseleurs, Paris, 1877 (réed. J. Laget), Paris, 1993, p. 186-190;
S. Jervis, A River God by Caffieri. National Art Collections Fund Review, London, 1992, pp. 81-85

相關資料

Jean-Jacques Caffieri was born into a prosperous family of sculptors with Italian origin. He was first trained by his father Jacques, a sculptor and bronze caster, before entering Jean-Baptiste II Lemoyne's (1704-1778) studio laying the foundations of his skill as a portraitist. From 1748 to 1754, Caffieri will be a 'pensionnaire' at the Académie de France in Rome. Upon his return to Paris, he prepared works for the Salon in 1757, among them a few sketches and 'une figure représentant un Fleuve'. A contemporary of Houdon, Caffieri was notably renowned for his skill as a portraitist, and was author of a great number of busts, including the portraits of Corneille, la Fontaine and Rameau. In 1759, Caffieri presented his marble version of a Rivergod  as his morceau de reception permitting him to be accepted at the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture (today in the Louvre, inv. n° MR 1773), showing a seated man holding an urn.

The composition of our Rivergod is different : the bearded man is here - following the antique tradition - seated with his legs stretched to the side, leaning against an urn from which water pours, and holding a paddle in the other hand. Our terracotta is identical to a Rivergod in the Fitzwilliam museum in Cambridge (inv. n° M.6-1992), signed and dated like ours 1755. It has been suggested that the Cambridge terracotta is the 'figure de Fleuve' presented by Caffieri in the Salon of 1757. Another terracotta version, slightly larger, signed and dated 1772 may certainly have been a private commission to the artist almost 20 years later (Sotheby's Paris, collection Dillée march 18, 2015, lot 81, sold 75 000 €).
Rivergods have always been a fascination for sculptors. The antique marbles of Tiber and Nile, rediscovered in 1512 and 1523 (Rome, Vatican museums), served as a source of inspiration. Also, Caffieri must have known his master's Oceanus, made by Lemoyne in 1740 for the Versailles gardens, as well as Robert Le Lorrain's terracotta Rivergod from the 1737 Salon (Louvre, inv. n° RF2492). But it is certainly his impressions of Rome which he took home with him, seeing Gianlorenzo Bernini's fountain of the Quattro Fiumi which inspired Caffieri to make this Rivergod. This finely modelled terracotta illustrates perfectly the Roman Baroque and Caffieri's skill in rendering a muscular body in fresh clay, the treatment of beard and hair, showing the artist's talent.

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