The Mouse Catchers, Capodimonte Porcelain Factory (Italian, 1740/43–1759), Soft-paste porcelain, Italian, Naples

The Mouse Catchers

Capodimonte Porcelain Factory (Italian, 1740/43–1759)
Giuseppe Gricci (Italian, ca. 1700–1770)
ca. 1745–50
Italian, Naples
Soft-paste porcelain
Height: 5 7/8 in. (14.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Douglas Dillon, 1983
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 508
Genre sculpture at Capodimonte has a directness and reality quite distinct from that produced at other Continental porcelain factories. Capodimonte figures are not the picturesque street peddlers of Edme Bouchardon’s Cris de Paris; nor are they the idealized lovers and children inspired by Boucher, J. E. Nilson, and their followers. They are, rather, genuine peasants, tradesmen, and young couples encountering daily life, portrayed unsentimentally but with sympathy and humor.

In this group, one of only two known examples of the model, the routing of mice from a linen chest is depicted in a manner in which energy and apprehension are charmingly combined. From the modeling of the figures with their small heads, and the spare painting, it would seem that the group dates from the early period of the factory’s work and perhaps anticipates a later one in a similar vein, the Rabbit Catchers.
Marking: Fleur-de-lis in circle (impressed on underside)
[ sale, Christie's, London , October 2, 1969, no. 92 ] ; Douglas Dillon (until 1983; to MMA)