Pair of vases

Manufactory Sèvres Manufactory French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 545

Made in 1789, on the eve of the French Revolution, this pair of vases reflects the superb quality and luxuriousness achieved by the Royal Porcelain Manufactory at Sèvres at the peak of its production. The vases were made to be purely decorative, and their diminutive scale was especially well suited to the intimate interiors that were in vogue in late eighteenthcentury France. They are painted with delicate scrolls that incorporate vegetal motifs, cornucopias, and birds’ heads. This type of decoration, known as the arabesque style, was very much in fashion in the 1780s not only throughout the decorative arts but also in interior decoration. On these vases the scrolling motifs surround panels painted to resemble prints depicting a male river god and a woman in classical dress. The richness of the decoration is enhanced by the two colors of marble employed for the base and by the finely worked coiling snakes that form the handles.

Pair of vases, Sèvres Manufactory (French, 1740–present), Hard-paste porcelain; gilt bronze, marble, French, Sèvres

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