Pair of seven-light candelabra (candélabres or girandoles)


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 528

Candelabra became more and more elaborate during the course of the eighteenth century and were frequently cast of gilt bronze. Monumental in size, this pair meant to hold seven candles is very complex in its design. Arranged in two tiers of three branches and with an additional arm at the top, the model incorporates two sets of animal feet as its support, lion’s paws and goat’s hooves. The stem is surmounted by female term figures, possibly maenads, and the scrolling branches on the lower tier each terminate in a jester’s head, with a tambourine serving as drip pan. In addition, eagle’s heads and coiling snakes surround a marble vase topped with fruits and flowers, which supports the four upper branches. Vine leaves and bunches of grapes are entwined around three of the candle arms, while the upper one is shaped like a thyrsus, the staff associated with Bacchus. The selection of bronze ornaments is unusual, and attention has been lavished on their casting, chasing, and gilding, which is partly burnished and partly left matte.

Pair of seven-light candelabra (candélabres or girandoles), Gilt bronze, griotte marble, bardiglio marble, French

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