Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: A Nineteenth Century Porcelain Figurine

Gilt Porcelain
The Victoria & Albert Museum

This hard-paste white porcelain figural group by an unknown Nineteenth Century maker stands on an oval four-footed base and features two classically dressed, Greek-style female dancers in flowing gilt draperies. The base is adorned with swags of gilt garlands in relief.

The figures stand in opposition to each other in contrappasto, delicately balanced.

Representations of classical Greece were on an upswing again by the end of the Eighteenth Century in paintings, sculpture, painted vases and reliefs which were inspired by archaeological sources. Such classical, idealistic images were considered noble and elegant.

Classically-inspired figural groups such as this one were usually designed to be made in pairs which would then be displayed symmetrically on a mantel or sideboard.

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