A C. Late 17th French Gilt Bronze Of The Mythical Sphinx For SaleA c. Late 17th FRENCH GILT BRONZE OF THE MYTHICAL SPHINX
RESTING FOR DISPLAY ON A SCARCE UNRELATED 19th century FRENCH MARBLE PAPERWEIGHT
The Bronze:GILT BRONZE - ORMOLU SPHINX [s.d., s.l., circa late 17th century, France.] 10 cm. length x 7 cm. height, resting (but not attached) to a scarce and handsome unrelated 19th century French paperweight as a base (included). The bronze shows three small holes for mounting and was probably used or intended to be a furniture ornament. It was originally purchased as an 18th century Sphinx of Madame Du Barry, the last Maîtresse-en-titre of Louis XV of France and one of the victims of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. However, Dick Stone at the Metropolitan said that this was incorrect and that the bronze is most assuredly a late 17th century French cast."The fabulous mythical creature [of the Sphinx] was first introduced in France from Italy as an ornamental sculpture in the 16th century when king and mécène, François I, had the steps leading to the Cour des Fontaines from the Château de Fontainebleau adorned with a pair of sphinxes or sphinges. (They unfortunately did not survive the French Revolution, however there are others in the château's garden.) The French Renaissance sculptures were highly Mannerist revivals of ancient Greek and Egyptian sphinges. They often had elaborate coiffures, and were either clothed or unclothed with luxuriant accoutrements and pearls, like the sphinx we caught from behind in Nancy, below. During the 18th and 19th centuries the French-style sphinx became an important decorative piece in royal palaces and gardens throughout Europe." Ref: example of a Perino del Vaga's 16th century interpretation of the type brought to example of a drawing of a Sphinx for furniture
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