Style Other / Ref.12646
Mathurin MOREAU (1822 - 1912), « Daphnis and Chloe» white Carrara marble
Width: 15'' ⅜ 39cm
Height: 31'' ⅞ 81cm
Depth: 11'' ¾ 30cm
This beautiful sculpture made out of Carrara marble was made by Mathurin Moreau, one of the most important French sculptors of the 19th century. It depicts the heroes of the eponymous Greek roman attributed to Longus (2nd of 3rd century AD), Daphnis and Chloe.
The roman, highly inspired by Bucolics, happens throught four « books » more equivalent to four chapters. The story takes place in the country side, near the city of Mytilène on the island of Lesbos, and tells the encounter between two foundlings, Daphnis who is a young goatherd, and Chloe, a sheperdess. Because of fate, they fall in love but lots of unforeseen developments prevent them from being together. It is first and foremost their sentimental education and the discover of love that are the heart of the story.
Their love story is a topic often reinterpretated throughts arts, mostly during the 18th and the 19th century, as can be seen in a painting by Boucher in the Wallace Collection, or in a sculpture by Jean-Pierre Cortot in the Louvre. Here, the couple is wearing tunics in the antique style, hugging each other. We can notice the importance of detail in the sculptor’s work : in the multiple flowers adorning Chloe’s hair, held with a ribbon or in the bouquet she is holding in her right hand. Mathurin Moreau shows his virtuosity by realising realistic drapery moulding the bodies with lightness, while the bodies were being sculpted with high delicacy. Mathurin Moreau comes from a family of sculptors : his father Jean-Baptiste, as well as his two brothers, Hippolyte and Auguste, were sculptors too. He was 21 years old when he received the second Prix de Rome. He began displaying his work in the Salon in 1848, and was immediatly noticed. Starting 1849, he began to work for the Val d’Osne foundry. This collaboration resulted in remarkable models for fountains, garden statues, candelabras, street lights, etc. If his bronze and cast iron statues made him famous, Moreau was also working with marble, for our sculpture for example. Indeed, he produced a lot of statuettes, some exhibited to the Salon des Artistes Français where he received several prizes, some at the 1867, 1878 and 1889 World’s Fairs.
Furthermore, an identical model made by our sculptor is kept in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.
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