Born and educated in France, Pierre-Etienne Monnot moved to Rome around 1687, establishing a successful career as a sculptor in the Eternal City. Foremost among his distinguished international clientele was Karl, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel (1654-1730), who entrusted him with the lavish decoration of the Marmorbad in Kassel. Another important patron of the sculptor was the Englishman John Cecil, 5th Earl of Exeter (circa 1648-1700), for whom Monnot produced an elaborate tomb. Monnot was clearly valued by his patrons not only for his architectural and decorative designs, but for his considerable talent in executing busts; both Hesse-Kassel and Exeter commissioned portrait busts from the sculptor. The present relief finds a strong comparison comparison in a Bust of Flora
, signed MONNOT FEC ROMA
, which is similarly garlanded and has a wistful expression (Avery, op. cit
., fig. 3). The relief is particularly close to a series of reliefs with Bacchants
surmounting columns in the Octagonal Room of the Vatican Museums, which are likewise wreathed, have shallow truncations, and fill most of the field of relief, and are likewise associated with Monnot by Avery (op. cit.
S. Lami, Dictionnaire des sculpteurs de l'école française sous le règne de Louis XIV
, Paris, 1906, vol. 2, pp. 381-384; R. Enggass, Early Eighteenth-Century Sculpture in Rome
, University Park and London, 1976, pp. 77-88
This lot is the subject of a scholarly report by Dr Charles Avery dated 31 December 2017. The report is available upon request.