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The Crown Bronzes – Collection of Louis XIV

Acquisitions - Archives - December 15, 2017

The Musée du Louvre announces the acquisition of two bronzes from the Crown Bronze collection, listed as French National Treasures, for the Department of Decorative Arts: Mars Giving up His Arms by Michel Anguier (1614–1686), and the Medici Venus, made in Florence in the 17th century. 

The Crown Bronzes, one of Europe’s most celebrated collections, created under Louis XIV

These two works, which were a gift to Louis XIV from Le Nôtre (the royal landscape architect), joined the Crown Bronze collection in 1693. This collection, considered one of the most beautiful and important in Europe, was entirely created under the reign of Louis XIV, with one hundred bronzes confiscated under the Directory in 1795. In 1796, these two bronzes were handed over to the state creditor Gabriel-Aimé Jourdan, leaseholder of the National Glassworks of Saint-Louis in Münzthal, and subsequently remained within his family.

Mars Giving up His Arms by Michel Anguier (1614–1686)

Made by Michel Anguier (1614–1686) in 1652, this work is part of a series of bronzes representing the Gods of Olympus, intended as an exercise in the expression of emotions, and among which Amphitrite, Jupiter, and Juno are still part of the French national collections. Mars Giving up His Arms illustrates the fiery temperament: he is undressing hurriedly, yielding to the impetuousness of his romantic desires. The cast stands out for its exceptional quality of execution, and represents the art of French sculptors from the beginning of the reign of Louis XIV to its height.

Medici Venus, copy after a classical model

This bronze reduction of a classical model, made in Florence in the 17th century, hails from the workshop of Pietro Tacca. Presented in the Villa Medici in the 17th century, this Medici Venus was installed in the Tribuna of the Uffizi in 1688. It was widely admired and extensively copied. Louis XIV had no fewer than six full-scale copies—five marble, and one bronze. François Perrier devoted three plates to the work in his 1638 anthology of classical sculpture.

Mars Giving up His Arms was purchased on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of the Société des Amis du Louvre, thanks to generous support from Mr. Eric de Rothschild and the bequest of Ms. Jacqueline Vrettos. The acquisition of the Medici Venus was made possible through the support of F. Marc de Lacharrière (Fimalac).

Bronzes de la Couronne - Vénus Médicis

Bronzes de la Couronne - Vénus Médicis

© Musée du Louvre, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais

Practical information

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