Work Clock with figure of Michelangelo
Department of Decorative Arts: 19th century
© 2002 RMN / Jean-Gilles Berizzi
To help make ends meet, the sculptor Jean-Jacques Feuchère (1807-52) used to sell his models to makers of bronzes. He sold the model for his 1843 sculpture of Michelangelo to the bronze maker Vittoz, who was succeeded in business by Labrouë. Around 1852 the latter used it as part of a clock, whose housing serves as a plinth for the figure of Michelangelo as thinker. The piece displays the Renaissance Revival style that flourished in many of the decorative arts under the July Monarchy.
A sculpture by Feuchère
This clock with its figure of Michelangelo was shown at the Universal Exhibition in London in 1851. Feuchère's sculpture itself had earlier been rejected by the jury of the Salon of 1843.
Putting the clock in its place
The sculpture of Michelangelo as thinker does not support the clock but surmounts it. Draped in a cloak, with one arm resting on one of the Slaves, the figurine dominates the composition as a whole by virtue of its position above the clock, which is flanked by two ephebes, and its relative height in relation to the clock. It is thus clear that the bronze figurine and not the clock is the more important element.
Admiration for the Renaissance
Under Louis-Philippe, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Bernard, and Jean Goujon-four great figures of the Renaissance-often appear in the decorative arts, so it is no surprise to find Michelangelo on this clock. Another example in the same vein is a porcelain tray, also in the Department of Objets d'Art at the Louvre, which shows the blind Michelangelo being led to the Capitol to sense with his hands the beauties of an antique torso.
BibliographyDion-Tenenbaum Anne, Louvre. Les Objets d'Art. Le XIXe siècle. Guide du visiteur, Paris, Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1999.
Dion-Tenenbaum Anne, "Nouvelles acquisitions" dans la Revue du Louvre, 1999, n 4, pp. 98-99.
Dion-Tenenbaum Anne, Les nouvelles acquisitions du musée du Louvre, à paraître.
Dion-Tenenbaum Anne, Les bronzes d'ameublement du musée du Louvre, à paraître.
E. de LABROÜE
Patinated and gilded bronze
H. 80 cm; W. 50 cm; D. 29 cm
Acquired in 1999 , 1999
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