Saint Michael’s Lamp, a Work by Félicie de Fauveau Acquired by the Louvre


21/2/13 - Acquisition - Paris, Musée du Louvre - The Louvre has lent one of its latest acquisitions to the Historial de Vendée at Lucs-sur-Boulogne, currently presenting an exhibition on Félicie de Fauveau, which we will return to at length soon. The lamp, known as The Lamp of Saint Michael, Archangel (ill.1), was purchased from Charles Janoray in New York.
The work, whose utilitarian function may be placed in doubt, is almost a scultpure and decorative arts object and has joined the collections of the Département des Objets d’Art. The group is made up of a Neo-Gothic architectural structure on which Saint Michael, Archangel, is standing, with four soldier angels at his feet. There is no other equivalent piece in Romantic sculpture of this period.


1. Félicie de Fauveau (1801-1886)
Casted by Jean-Honoré Gonon (1780-1850)
The Lamp of Saint Michael, Archangel, 1832
Patinated, Gilded, Silvered and Painted Bronze,
Glass, Lapis Lazuli - 90 x 34 x 3.6 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : Musée d’Orsay/P. Schmidt

2. Félicie de Fauveau (1801-1886)
The Lamp of Saint Michael, Archangel, 1832
Patinated, Gilded, Silvered and Painted Bronze,
Glass, Lapis Lazuli - 90 x 34 x 3.6 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : Adrien Goetz


The bronze was cast by Jean-Honoré Gonon, one of the principal and best founders of the Romantic period, the author also for example of the large Lion de Barye. One of the work’s most original aspects is its polychrome work in gold, silver and red, accompanied by colored glass and pieces of lapis lazuli, which stands out particularly well against the mauve background of the exhibition (ill. 2).
The archangel Saint Michael is recurrent in Félicie de Fauveau’s art. In January 1832, during her imprisonment after an aborted attempt at revolution in favor of the Duchess de Berry and her son, the young Duke of Bordeaux, she learned the death of her companion at arms, Louis-Charles de Bonnechose, and had immediately designed a monument in his memory, which was never executed but can be found however in a lithograph [1]. The lamp, which was also produced in 1832 at which point the artist had returned to Paris after her liberation, resulted indirectly from these projects, as the archangel’s attitude is very close to the one found in the print.

Version française


Didier Rykner, lundi 4 mars 2013


Notes

[1] A replica of this lithograph was acquired by Historial de Vendée, (we will discuss it in an upcoming news item, with other acquisitions of works by Félicie de Fauveau made by this establishment).



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