FRANCE ÉPOQUE LOUIS XIII VERS 1650 1660
MIRROR "MÉLEAGRE ET ATALANTE"
Ebony and Blackened
H. 115 cm, L. 94 cm
This rare ebony mirror carved in very high relief is characteristic of the work of this precious wood in the middle of the 17th century. In the upper part, Bacchus and a young man, intoxicated, are lying in the middle of fruits and bunches of grapes. On the side uprights appear on the left Atalanta trampling the corpse of a boar and on the right Meleagre holding the hoop.
In the lower part, a naked woman seems to be in a dream, approached on the side by a cherub. Each of these scenes appears amidst large volutes of foliage. Our work can be compared to the ebony mirror kept in the National Museum of the Castle of Pau, sculpted in low relief and presenting in the same places a decor of characters and animated scenes in the middle of foliage (fig. 1). The same is true for the mirror showing Mars and Minerva executed in Paris and kept in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (fig. 2) as well as the one kept in a private collection (fig. 3). The decoration of our work was undoubtedly influenced by the ornamentalists of the time such as Jean Marot (1619-1679) or Jean Lepautre (1618-1682).
Thus, in an engraving of the latter dated around 1650-1660, we find the same type of abundance in the frame of the two vases, where fleshy and languid figures are mixed in the middle of large foliage (fig. 4).
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