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Style Renaissance / Ref.14626

Attributed to Pierre Marius Montagne, sculpted marble Mercury

Width: 18'' ⅛  46cm
Height: 48'' ⅞  124cm
Depth: 26''   66cm

19th century.

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This marble sculpture, the model of which was presented at the Salon of 1869, was described by Mr de Thémines in La Patrie of May 7, 1869: "The young god is seated on a tree trunk, his right leg so crossed over the left that the ankle of the latter almost touches the knee of the former. One hand resting on this knee holds a Pan flute; the other extends limply towards a sword which is on the ground in its sheath."

In 1867, Marius Montagne presented the plaster corresponding to the model of this marble at the Salon under the title "Mercury preparing to cut off the head of Argus". The State then commissioned the artist to produce a marble model which was exhibited at the 1869 Salon. This version was transferred in 1874 by the Direction des Beaux-Arts to the city of Montbéliard. Our marble is one of only three versions made in this material known to this day. As we mentioned, one of them is currently kept in the museum of the castle of the Dukes of Würtemberg in Montbéliard. It is probably the version ordered by the State to Montagne, it measures 133 centimeters in height. Another version seems to have been sold in New-York during a sale of July 18 and 19, 1996 which measures 68,6 centimeters in height. The size of our version is the closest to the original since it measures 124 centimeters high.

Marius Montagne's Mercury was produced in bronze in numerous copies. However, the few known marble versions suggest that they were made in the workshop. Their small number is explained by the fact that Montagne died only ten years after the execution of the first marble, in Toulon in 1879, at the age of fifty.

Pierre Marius Montagne, a pupil of Rude, was born in Toulon. He exhibited at the Salon from 1850 until 1875, winning medals in 1867 and 1869. His major works are currently kept in the museums of Grenoble and Toulon. His Mercury was also exhibited at the London International Exhibition in 1872, and at the Universal Exhibition of 1878.