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Pair of "torchères" (tall candelabra stands)

© 1995 RMN / Michèle Bellot

Decorative Arts
19th century

Author(s):
Barbier Muriel

André-Antoine Ravrio (1759-1814) produced this pair of candelabra the year he retired. It is therefore one of his last works. Shaped like winged Victories, the two candelabra are much influenced by the taste for Antiquity, which became very marked under the First Empire. Although they are of the finest technical and esthetic quality, we know neither their purpose nor for whom they were destined.

Candelabra in the antique style

Each candelabra is composed of a patinated bronze trapezoidal pedestal supported by claw feet and adorned with gilt bronze winged putti and scrolling foliage. On this base, stands a winged Victory, clad in a short tunic and shod with sandals. Each Victory is holding out a gilt bronze vase out of which protrude thirteen branches of lights decorated with laurel leaf and terminating in candle sockets and drip pans of a very sober design. With their pleated tunics and short, wavy hair, these winged Victories bring to mind Hellenistic statues. They belong to the style defined by the architects Charles Percier and François Fontaine, which based itself on models from Greco-Roman Antiquity while reinterpreting them.

A model often repeated

There are several known versions of this candelabra. The pair in the Louvre dates from 1814. There is a similar pair in the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, but dated 1819. It was probably produced by Ravrio's successor, Louis-Stanislas Lenoir, who contented himself with repeating his master's works. Identical models have been identified at Ludwigsburg and at the White House. One last pair appears on a watercolor representing the "chamois room" of the Kronprinzenpalais in Berlin, which indicates that Frederick-William III owned a set analogous to the one in the Louvre. Despite all these examples, it is not possible to know for whom the Louvre candelabra were made nor what their destination was.

Ravrio's fame at the time of the First Empire

André-Antoine Ravrio belonged to a family of famous artists with ties to the cabinetmakers Van der Cruse. His cousin, the painter Henri-Francois Riesener, made two portraits of him, now in the Painting Department of the Louvre. Ravrio chose his father's profession, bronze caster, and soon, by the end of the Ancien Régime, became a well sought-after artisan. Under the First Empire, he enjoyed great fame and was appointed, along with other bronze casters (Thomire, Galle, Feuchère), official purveyor of the Imperial House.The Imperial Furniture Repository gave him commissions for the Château de Fontainebleau and he worked for Murat, the Bonaparte family and for foreign courts. The exceptional dimensions of the candelabra in the Louvre, and the fine quality of the bronze casting are a clear indication of Ravrio's success.

Technical description

  • Antoine-André RAVRIO (Paris, 1759 - Paris, 1814)

    Pair of "torchères" (tall candelabra stands)

    1814

    Paris

  • Gilded and patinated bronze

    H. 1.60 m

  • Gift of Finacor Group, 1995 , 1995

    OA 11803, OA 11804

  • Decorative Arts

    Richelieu wing
    1st floor
    Finacor
    Room 551

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Additional information about the work

Signed and dated: RAVRIO FECIT. PARIS. 1814