Thursday, March 20, 2014

Figure of the Day: The Kändler Shepherd, 1750-55

Meissen Figure
Germany, 1750-55
The Victoria & Albert Museum

I have a special fondness for the work of the Meissen Porcelain Factory’s modeler Johann Joachim Kändler (1706-1775) who was responsible for several figures of Commedia dell’Arte characters including Pulcinella. Kändler was the genius behind many a set of figures which were designed to be brought out with the dessert course of a lavish meal.

Here’s one of his figures. This shepherd was meant to be part of a pair with a shepherdess. Idealized figures of shepherds were quite fashionable in Germany, France, Italy and Britain when this was made about 1750. The figures were never realistic, but rather showed the shepherd or shepherdess in elegant costumes.

This shepherd of hard-paste porcelain is shown playing bagpipes for his lounging sheep dog and grazing sheep. The high rococo-scrolled base is typical of Kändler’s work. Like it’s brothers, the figure is painted with enamel colors and gilt. 

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