Bust of Bacchante


A large bronze bust showing a beautiful young woman depicted as a Bacchante, the Greek Goddess of Wine, her head festooned with grape branches. The bust is supported by an integral bronze plinth that at the back is inscribed with the name of the sculptor, J. Clesinger Rome 1857 dating the bronze to the time when the sculptor was 33 years old.

The sculptor whose full name was Jean Auguste Baptiste Clesinger was born in 1813 in Besancon in southern France. His father, Georges-Philippe, was a sculptor and trained Auguste in art. Auguste first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1843 with a bust of Vicomte Jules de Vaidahon. At the 1847 Salon, he created a sensation with his Woman bitten by a serpent, produced from life-casts from his model Apollonie Sabartier who was a notorious Parisian and the mistress of many perhaps even of Clesinger himself. Later he also produced this bust of her as Bacchante.

In private life, the sculptor was awarded one of France’s highest honour, the knight’s cross of the Legion d’Honneur in 1849 and rose to an officer of the order in 1864. In 1847, he married George Sand’s daughter, Solange Dudevant. Perhaps more than any other work, the sculptor is best known for the death mask of the composer-pianist Frederic Chopin in 1849. He was also commissioned to make a cast of the composer’s hands.

In 1850, he was commissioned to sculpt the white marble funerary monument of Euterpe, the muse of music, for Chopin’s grave at Pere Lachaise cemetry in Paris.

Clesinger died in Paris on 5 January 1883.

Dimensions: 28.5″ (72 cm) H x 18″ (46 cm) W x 12″ (31 cm) D

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