Five-light candelabrum (one of a pair)

derives from a model by Clodion (Claude Michel) French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 525

Functional and highly decorative bronzes d’ameublement, the so-called furnishing bronzes – wall lights, candelabra and other types of lighting, firedogs, hearth fittings and clocks – were an important aspect of eighteenth century décor. Well-known artists and sculptors were frequently involved in their design, closely following the latest styles.

Here, in a design derived from a model by the sculptor Clodion (Claude Michel, Nancy 1738–1814) a male (58.75.123) and a female faun (58.75.124), half-human and half-goat like mythological creatures, each hold a five-light candelabrum. The spiral fluted support of the candle branches takes the form of a cornucopia laden with fruits and flowers. The contrast of the patinated bronze figures with the gilt bronze candelabra is particularly striking: the juxtaposition of gilded and patinated bronzes became fashionable in the neo-classic period.

The figures’ headdresses of grapes and vine leaves, a similar garland across the female faun’s chest, the ewer and tambourine next to her left hoof, as well as the pan pipes slung across the male faun’s back, give these candelabra a clear Bacchanalian theme. Clodion was considered the finest modeler of small-scale statuettes of the late eighteenth century and often created works of a Bacchanalian nature.

These candelabra were popular in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and a number of different versions were made.

Five-light candelabrum (one of a pair), derives from a model by Clodion (Claude Michel) (French, Nancy 1738–1814 Paris), Gilt and patinated bronze, serpentine marble, French

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