Female bust

Date: 1725–50

Culture: French

Medium: Gilt bronze

Dimensions: Overall (confirmed): 16 1/2 x 10 3/4 x 4 3/4 in., 7.5lb. (41.9 x 27.3 x 12.1 cm, 3.402kg)

Classification: Metalwork-Gilt Bronze

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1906

Accession Number: 07.225.510.118


Since the figure is looking downward, she may have been intended for the crest of a tall armoire or bookcase. Resembling the elegant women in the paintings of Antoine Watteau (1684–1721), this large mount would add not only sculptural beauty but also considerable cost and weight to a piece of furniture. The cabinetmaker had to take this additional weight into account when constructing the carcass. The large holes in the bust are for screws or nails to fasten it to the wooden surface. It was only later, during the eighteenth century, that less conspicuous methods of mounting were devised.