Michel, Pierre-Joseph (1737 - 1812)

The Seesaw

Exposé en salle

Date : Entre 1737 et 1800
Support and technique : Terre cuite
Size : H. 20.2 x l. 28.4 x P. 4 cm
Inventory number : 2008.3
Signature : En bas à droite : "pierre michel"

There are few works signed by Pierre-Joseph Michel, a sculptor from Lorraine and the elder brother of Clodion, who was more famous. The Cognacq-Jay Museum holds two of them, including the only relief known today. La Bascule is akin to a lovable, antique-style genre scene: putti figures and a small satyr are fighting to play on a wooden plank. These childish fantasy themes, which were already present in Greco-Roman sculpture, had been brought up to date by François Duquesnoy, a Flemish sculptor active in Rome in the 17th century. In 1782, for the decor of the Hôtel de Bourbon-Condé in Paris, Clodion designed a Children's Bacchanale (Louvre Museum), similar in style and subject to La Bascule. Pierre-Joseph Michel’s work, however, differs from that of his younger brother in that the composition is more compact, with accentuated volumes, in which the strong chiaroscuro imitates Luminist painting techniques.


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