French, late 17th century  An oval bronze plaquette possibly depicting Queen Christina of Sweden as Minerva

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Lot 21
French, late 17th century
An oval bronze plaquette possibly depicting Queen Christina of Sweden as Minerva

Sold for £ 1,080 (US$ 1,488) inc. premium

Sculpture

15 Apr 2008, 14:00 BST

London, New Bond Street

French, late 17th century
An oval bronze plaquette possibly depicting Queen Christina of Sweden as Minerva
helmeted and in profile to the right (in a moulded wooden frame, split, with brass loop for suspension) 10.2cmcm wide, 12.8cm high (4in wide, 5in high)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Arthur Davidson, Jermyn St., London (1974)

    Literature:
    J. Fischer, Sculpture in Miniature: The Andrew S. Ciechanowiecki Collection of Gilt & Gold Medals and Plaquettes, exh. cat., The J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky,1969, nos. 448-49; J. Leeuwenberg, Beeldhouwkunst in het Rijksmuseum, Catalogus, Amsterdam, 1973, p 507, no. 909a; C. Avery, Museo Civico Amedeo Lia, Sculture, bronzetti, placchette, medaglie, La Spezia, 1998, no.221 (this example ill., fig. b).

    This beautifully cast and chased portrait is enigmatic in terms of subject and author. The subject is sometimes said to be Queen Christina of Sweden (1626-1689) – e.g. in the catalogue of the Rijksmuseum – perhaps on account of the long, ntural hair curling from beneath the back of the helmet and the martial image that she liked to convey, but the profile does not resemble her features at al closely. It has also been thought to represent Alexander the Great, although again the likeness is not compelling.

    The fact that it is often paired with a facing image of King Henri IV of France (1553-1610), though on a smaller scale, indicates that it may be French in origin, though certainly later in date than his reign. This is corroborated in the present cast by the delicately chased rinceaux on the visor and the ornamental scrolls on the cuirass, which are typical of the style in vogue under the early Louis XIV.

    The history of bronzes during the 17th century in France remains to be thoroughly researched and only thereafter will the authorship of fine pieces such as this be properly defined.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note: the wooden frame is no longer included with this lot
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