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Bronze sculpture of the Vénus Callipyge on an Empire ormolu and bronze base
Very fine and rare patinated bronze sculpture of the Vénus Callipyge on an Empire ormolu and bronze base. A pair of candelabra with identical bases is in the English embassy in Paris (Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, No. 39) and is illustrated in Le Style Empire, Vol. I. (labelled incorrectly 2e serie) page 41 by J. Vacquier, Paris 1920. This was the former residence of Paulette (Pauline) Bonaparte and was bought by the English in 1815, who conserved many of the original furnishings. This bronze figure of Venus, also known as the Bergère Grecque or Vénus aux Belles fesses, is based on a Hellenistic marble statue preserved at the Museo Nazionale in Naples which was extensively copied in all media in the 18th and 19th centuries. Its title refers to a popular story told by the 3rd-century author Athenaeus in which two peasant's daughters settled a dispute concerning which of the two had the more shapely buttocks by accosting a young bypasser and inviting him to judge. His choice was his reward, and his  brother won the other sister. At the time of the wedding, the sisters dedicated a temple to Venus Callipygos at Syracuse. The ormolu base of the statue is reminiscent of a temple and may be a reference to the Syracuse temple. It has been associated with the work of the ciseleur-doreur Claude Galle who worked for the Garde-Meuble under the direction of Jean Hauré in the late 1780s.

Ex Collection: I. A. Galnbeck (A well-known architect in Saint Petersburg, he designed more than ten buildings, including the Fabergé dacha, the Reformist Church school, an evangelical almshouse and a wing in the Levashov house.)

Exhibited: Les Trésors d’Art en Russie. Saint Petersburg, 1904. Number 117, illustrated.

                   Napoleon and His Age. Nassau County Museum of Art, 1/28 – 4/29 2001. Page 93; Illustrated, page 33

Height (ins.): 22.5     
Origin: French, early 19th century     Period: Empire



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