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Alain Moatti, Paris.
M.Boudon-Machuel, François du Quesnoy (1597-1643), Paris, 2005, pp. 29 et 90-96.
Post Lot Text
A BRONZE GROUP OF MERCURY AND CUPID
CAST FROM A MODEL ATTRIBUTED TO FRANCOIS DUQUESNOY (1594-1643), LATE 17TH OR EARLY 18TH CENTURY
Mercury depicted with his head lowered and looking at Cupid by his feet; standing in contrapposto with his caduceus in his left hand and resting his right hand on a tree trunk, on an integral rectangular bronze plinth; the remains of a black lacquer revealing the reddish brown metal underneath
The history of Duquesnoy's creation of this celebrated composition is a complicated one. The original bronze was created for marchese Vincenzo Giustiniani as a pendant to an antique bronze figure of Hercules already in his collection, and was recorded in an engraving of items from Giustiniani's collection by Mellan (illustrated in Boudon-Machuel, op. cit., p. 29). Duquesnoy subsequently created a bronze Apollo and Cupid as a pendant to the Mercury. This pair is known in several early versions including examples in the Liechtenstein collection, Vienna. The present model is, however, a slight variant of the original model which Boudon-Machuel argues is also by Duquesnoy. This variant model is known to have existed from at least 1687, when it appears in an inventory of the collection of the marchese del Carpio. Examples of this type exist in several prestigious collections including the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection (see A. Radcliffe, M. Baker and M. Maek-Gérard, The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection - Renaissance and later sculpture with works of art in bronze, London, 1992, no. 23).