A French patinated bronze allegorical group of the River Nile<BR />after the antique<BR />follower of Jacques Buirett (French, 1631-1699)<BR />early 18th century
Lot 1444
A French patinated bronze allegorical group of the River Nile
after the antique
follower of Jacques Buirett (French, 1631-1699)
early 18th century
Sold for US$ 2,500 inc. premium
Lot Details
Souvenirs of the Grand Tour
A French patinated bronze allegorical group of the River Nile
after the antique
follower of Jacques Buirett (French, 1631-1699)
early 18th century
The muscular male nude leaning against a cornucopia and sphinx, accompanied by fourteen clambering babies, crocodile and mongoose, the integral plinth cast on three sides with men in papyrus boats among hippopotamus, water buffalo and crocodiles, raised on separate Sienna marble and black slate rectangular stepped plinth. bronze height 6 1/4in (16cm); length 10 5/8in (27cm); depth; 5in (13cm); marble plinth height 3 1/4in (8cm); length 12in (30.5cm); depth (6 1/2in (16.5cm)

Footnotes

  • Related Literature:
    F. Souchal, French Sculptors of the 17th and 18th centuries..., A-F, Oxford, 1977, G-L 1981, m-Z 1987.
    F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique, Yale, 1981, p. 272 & 310.
    Robert Wenley, French Bronzes in the Wallace Collection, London 2002.

    The present bronze is a reduction of the large Roman marble group discovered in 1512 during excavations of the shrine to Isis and Serapis in Rome. It was conceived as one of a pair, the pendant group of similar form depicting the river Tiber. The Nile is clearly identified through the addition of the sphinx, grapes and corn which represent fertility, as well as the sixteen babies that surround the central figure (two are now lacking from the present bronze) which represent the ideal height of the river to sixteen cubits. The massive Roman marble groups were exhibited in the Papal collection and became famous throughout Europe. European monarchs commissioning copies and reductions for their own collections. Francois I ordered copies in 1540, and Louis XIV had marble copies made about 1690 by Lorenzo Ottoni and Pierre Bourdy for Marly which were later moved to the Tuileries. The original marble version of the Nile is now in the Braccio Nuovo in the Museo Vaticani, Rome, the Tiber is in the Louvre, Paris.

    There is a large bronze reduction of the Nile in the Wallace Collection, London, attributed to Corneille Van Cleve (1646-1732) on a gilt bronze base and dated to circa 1715. Other smaller reductions dating to the late 17th century have been attributed to Jacques Buirette on the basis that the famous engraving of the French sculptor Girardon's studio depicts a bronze of this type with the inscription 'copie d'apres L'Antique par Buirett'. Other larger scale casts have also been attributed to Martin Carlier.

    For comparable examples see Sotheby's, New York, 20 May 2005, lot 51, and Sotheby's, Paris, 16 October 2007, lot 27.
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