sculpture 015
Bronze sculpture of Silenus by Etienne-Maurice Falconet after Boucher. The sculpture depicts the plump figure of the drunken Silenus seated on a small hill surrounded by three inebriated bacchantes and a human child playing with a satyr child. Silenus was the foster-father of Dionysus and when drunk, had the power of prophecy.
The subject was also made in biscuit porcelain at Sèvres; the first copy was delivered to Louis XV in 1759. The terra cotta is in the Musée national de Céramique-Sèvres. The composition is based on a design by Boucher engraved by Falconet’s son and published by Joullain. (See: Falconet á Sèvres ou l’art de plaire; Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 2001. Page 108 and pages145-147.)
This is one of Falconet’s most complex sculptures, composed of reclining figures swirling around Silenus. A tour de force of bronze-making, each of the six figures is separately cast and attached to the extraordinarily well chased base. The bronze is signed on the base: “Falconet 1769”.
Height (ins.): 10 (25.4 cm)      Length/Width (ins.): 8.5 (21.6 cm)      Depth (ins.): 9 (22.9 cm)
Origin: France, 1769     Period: Louis XV