Architecture by David d’Angers acquired by the Musee du Louvre

1. Pierre-Jean David, called David d’Angers (1788-1856)
The Architecture, 1838
Terracotta - Diameter : 26.1 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : Galerie Talabardon et Gautier

26/7/10 – Acquisition – Paris, Musee du Louvre – Last December, in its annual 19th century exhibition, the Talabardon & Gautier Gallery presented a large terracotta medallion by Jean-Pierre David d’Angers, representing Architecture which we had reproduced at the time (see news item of 8/12/09).
This very beautiful object has just been acquired by the Departement des Sculptures at the Musee du Louvre. Let us recall that it was produced in memory of Charles Percier as requested by his friends and students, in 1838, the year of the architect’s death [1]. Percier knew the sculptor well, a fellow colleague at the Institut who had executed a portrait of him in 1834 in a bronze medallion. The allegorical figure of Architecture would be easily recognizable by its attributes even without the inscription identifying it as it does : a set square and plan held in her hands, a compass and plumbline at her feet. Seated on a globe of the earth which represents her universal character, she is seen encircled with a halo of the star of genius and crowned by cypresses, a symbol of mourning.

2. Pierre-Jean David, called David d’Angers (1788-1856)
Charles Percier, 1834
Bronze - Diameter : 16.5 cm
Lille, Palais des Beaux-Arts
Photo : RMN

This is the only known terracotta to exist today by the artist. The bronze medallion executed from this model is in a private collection, and several drawings at the Musee d’Angers reveal David d’Angers’ effort to achieve this representation. One of them shows the figure standing on the terrestrial globe.

Didier Rykner, lundi 26 juillet 2010


[1] It bears the following inscriptions, on the left : “IN MEMORY / OF CHARLE [sic] PERCIER / ARCHITECT / MEMBER OF THE INSTITUT/ HIS STUDENTS / HIS FRIENDS AND THE ADMIRERS / OF HIS GREAT TALENT / AND HIS NOBLE / CHARACTER “ ; on the right : “BORN IN PARIS / ON 22 AUGUST 1764 / DIED ON 5 / 7 BRE 1838” ; and center bottom : “ARCHITECTURE”.

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