Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Pair of firedogs (chenets)

ca. 1750
Gilt bronze
.1) H. 20 3/4 x W. 19 x D. 10 1/2 in. (52.7 x 48.3 x 26.7 cm); .2) H. 17 3/4 x W. 19 5/16 x D. 9 3/4 in. (45.1 x 49.1 x 24.8 cm)
Metalwork-Gilt Bronze
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 1986
Accession Number:
1986.365.1, .2
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 525
Multiple examples of this model of firedogs, incorporating the figures of two mythological deities in their design, are known. The crowned male figure could be Pluto, Roman god of the underworld; the female pendant might be his love, Proserpina, traditionally shown with a torch, as the woman is here. In fact, in 1753 the metalworker Antoine Lelièvre supplied a pair of chenets decorated with the rulers of the underworld, albeit of a different model, to Louis XV for use at Versailles. However, Pluto is generally rendered with a scepter, not with a trident as here, the latter usually being an attribute of Neptune. Given the fact that andirons were placed in front of the fireplace to reflect the flames, the choice of Neptune and his spouse, Amphitrite, god and goddess of the sea, would have been an amusing one. Whatever their identities might be, these firedogs with their figures perched on pierced scrolling bases evolving into acanthus leaves are a perfect embodiment of the whimsical Rococo taste.
Jayne Wrightsman , New York (until 1986; to MMA)
Related Objects

Nine-light chandelier

Date: ca. 1785 Medium: Gilt and patinated bronze Accession: 1977.83 On view in:Gallery 546


Artist: André Charles Boulle (French, Paris 1642–1732 Paris) Date: ca. 1710–20 Medium: Walnut veneered with ebony, marquetry of engraved brass and tortoiseshell, gilt-bronze mounts, verd antique marble Accession: 1982.60.82 On view in:Gallery 542

Vase (vase chinois) (one of a pair)

Artist: Sèvres Manufactory (French, 1740–present) Date: 1791 Medium: Hard-paste porcelain, gilt bronze Accession: 1971.206.24 On view in:Gallery 524

Pair of three-light wall sconces (Bras de cheminée)

Artist: Sèvres Manufactory (French, 1740–present) Date: ca. 1760–61 Medium: Soft-paste porcelain, gilt bronze Accession: 54.147.20a–d, .21a–d On view in:Gallery 523

Pair of vases

Artist: Sèvres Manufactory (French, 1740–present) Date: 1789 Medium: Hard-paste porcelain; gilt bronze, marble Accession: 2008.529, .530 On view in:Gallery 545