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Set of four three-light sconces (bras de lumière)

ca. 1750
French, Paris
Gilt bronze
Each: H. 28 3/4 x W. 22 7/8 x D. 13 1/4 in. (73 x 58.1 x 33.7 cm)
Metalwork-Gilt Bronze
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 1972
Accession Number:
  • Description

    Gilt bronze was used extensively for different types of lighting, ranging from freestanding candlesticks and candelabra to hanging chandeliers and lanterns. Sconces were usually placed on either side of a mirror so that the flames of their candles were reflected and multiplied in the glass. Given their size, these examples, which were originally part of a set of six, must have been intended for a large, formal room. Three scrolling arms spring organically from a shaped stem, which incorporates floral trails, fruit-bearing olive branches, and rocaille ornament. The candleholders at the ends of the arms are in the form of spiraling foliage, and their drip pans resemble acanthus leaves. The sconces complement each other symmetrically and form two proper pairs. Each one consists of a number of separate elements, fastened in such a way that it appears as if they were cast as a single piece. The virtuosity of their design and the symphony of flowing lines and twirling movement make this set of beautifully chased and gilded wall lights a triumph of Rococo art.

  • Provenance

    Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman (until 1972; to MMA)

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History