Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Cast Courts, Room 46b, The Weston Cast Court

Nymph of Fontainbleau

Relief
1542 (made), 19th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This is a fragment of a plaster cast of a relief of the Nymph of Fontainbleu made in the 19th century. The original Nympf of Fontainbleu relief was made in bronze by Benvenuto Cellini, in Italy in 1542, and is in the collection of the Louvre.

This is part of a scheme for the tympanum of the principal entrance to the palace at Fontainbleau commissioned from Cellini by Francois I of France. Cellini intended the subject of the lunette to be both an allegory of Fontainebleau and to show the stag, a device of Francois I, as a reference to the King. Above the Nymph of Fontainebleau, there were to have been two torch bearing Victory figures crowned by a salamander, the emblem of the King. The gate was to have been supported by two great satyrs. Due to the death of the King, in 1547, this project was left unfinished. The satyrs, executed as models, were never cast, and the pose of one of them is recorded in a drawing in the Ian Woodner family collection in New York and in a related bronze in a private collection in Geneva. The Nymph of Fontainebleau was never installed, and was subsequently presented by Henri II of France to his Mistress, Diane de Poitiers who replaced it, together with the Victories, over the entrance to the Chateau d'Anet. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the Nymph of Fontainebleau was replaced by a cast at Anet, and the original transferred to the Louvre. The Victory figures were lost by the end of the nineteenth century, and are now known only through casts in the Louvre.

Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571) was trained as a goldsmith in Florence. He developed great skill and originality in his techniques. He lived a dramatic but vibrant life which is documented in his autobiography (unfinished, but published in 1728). This book was translated by many writers, one of them Goethe and was the basis for Berlioz' opera 'Benvenuto Cellini' (1837). As a sculptor he has a Mannerist style, which is elaborate, elegant and precious. He stands for the tragic yet roamantic artist.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Plaster cast
Brief Description
Relief, fragment, plaster cast, of Nymph of Fontainbleau in bronze made in Italy in 1542 by Benvenuto Cellini, cast 19th century
Physical Description
This semicircle relief depicts a nymph lying naked. With numerous woodland animals. The nymph has her arm around the neck of a stag.
Dimensions
  • Height: 205cm
  • Length: 409cm
Subjects depicted
Summary
This is a fragment of a plaster cast of a relief of the Nymph of Fontainbleu made in the 19th century. The original Nympf of Fontainbleu relief was made in bronze by Benvenuto Cellini, in Italy in 1542, and is in the collection of the Louvre.



This is part of a scheme for the tympanum of the principal entrance to the palace at Fontainbleau commissioned from Cellini by Francois I of France. Cellini intended the subject of the lunette to be both an allegory of Fontainebleau and to show the stag, a device of Francois I, as a reference to the King. Above the Nymph of Fontainebleau, there were to have been two torch bearing Victory figures crowned by a salamander, the emblem of the King. The gate was to have been supported by two great satyrs. Due to the death of the King, in 1547, this project was left unfinished. The satyrs, executed as models, were never cast, and the pose of one of them is recorded in a drawing in the Ian Woodner family collection in New York and in a related bronze in a private collection in Geneva. The Nymph of Fontainebleau was never installed, and was subsequently presented by Henri II of France to his Mistress, Diane de Poitiers who replaced it, together with the Victories, over the entrance to the Chateau d'Anet. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the Nymph of Fontainebleau was replaced by a cast at Anet, and the original transferred to the Louvre. The Victory figures were lost by the end of the nineteenth century, and are now known only through casts in the Louvre.



Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571) was trained as a goldsmith in Florence. He developed great skill and originality in his techniques. He lived a dramatic but vibrant life which is documented in his autobiography (unfinished, but published in 1728). This book was translated by many writers, one of them Goethe and was the basis for Berlioz' opera 'Benvenuto Cellini' (1837). As a sculptor he has a Mannerist style, which is elaborate, elegant and precious. He stands for the tragic yet roamantic artist.
Collection
Accession Number
REPRO.1864:1-104

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdJune 24, 2009
Record URL