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Figure group
  • Figure group
    Kändler, Johann Joachim, born 1706 - died 1775
  • Enlarge image

Figure group

  • Place of origin:

    Meissen (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1745 (made)
    1743 (modelled)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Kändler, Johann Joachim, born 1706 - died 1775 (modeller)
    Meissen porcelain factory (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hard-paste porcelain painted in enamels and gilded

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs O. J. Finney in memory of Oswald James Finney

  • Museum number:

    C.21-1984

  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 2a, case CA1

The Commedia dell’Arte, was a form of improvised street theatre, which spread from16th-century Italy throughout Europe, and remained popular for around two centuries. Commedia dell'Arte troupes engaged in very physical acting using music, dance and acrobatics in their performances. While the plot was largely improvised, stock characters were used and were recognisable to the audience by their costumes, accents and poses. The popularity of this theatre form inspired paintings and decorative objects depicting the commedia characters.

From the late 1730s and into the 1740s the Meissen modeller Johann Joachim Kändler produced a great variety of figures based on Commedia dell’Arte characters. On stage Commedia dell’Arte antics included bawdy humour which avoided censorship due to the improvised nature of the performances. This model of Harlequin waving a sausage at Columbine, while placing his hat on her lap, refers to his amorous intentions. This group is first recorded in 1740 in Kändler's list of new models.

Physical description

Figure group of Harlequin and Columbine in hard-paste porcelain painted in enamels and gilded. They are seated on flower bestrewn stumps on a flowered pad base. She is holding a slapstick in her right hand and tweaking his nose with her left. He is wearing a bearded mask and is holding a sausage in his left hand and rests his right hand, holding his hat, on her knee. She is wearing a white hat with a red rosette, a blue tunic, turquoise and lavender cloak, a flowered skirt and blue shoes all trimmed with gold. He is wearing a lozenge diapered tunic in lavender, green, black, yellow and white, red striped trousers with turquoise rosettes and grey shoes. The hat is black with red and turquoise feathers.

Place of Origin

Meissen (made)

Date

ca. 1745 (made)
1743 (modelled)

Artist/maker

Kändler, Johann Joachim, born 1706 - died 1775 (modeller)
Meissen porcelain factory (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Hard-paste porcelain painted in enamels and gilded

Marks and inscriptions

'DOUA (NES) FRANCAISES RECETTE DE PARIS NORD' [indistinct]
Incribed on paper label

Dimensions

Height: 15.4 cm, Width: 17.2 cm elbow to slapstick

Object history note

This group is recorded as follows in the listing of Kändler's new models since the year 1740 'Taxa derer vom H. Modell-Meister Kaendlern, sur Königl. Porcelaine-Manufactur in Meiszen seit Ao 1740 gefertigten und gelieferten neuen Modelle' : 'One of the same (ie a small group) consisting of 2 figures in which a Harlequin has sat himself down by a lass in order to caress her, but she is hitting him with the slapstick'.'

Röbbig-Reyes, Michael. Selected Works: Early German Porcelain & Eighteenth-Century Art, Furniture, and Objets d'Art, Röbbig, Munich, 2013, p. 43. and p. 136.

Descriptive line

Figure group of Harlequin and Columbine in hard-paste porcelain painted in enamels and gilded, modelled by J.J. Kändler in 1743, made by Meissen porcelain factory, Germany, ca. 1745.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Hackenbroch, Yvonne. Meissen and other continental porcelain, faience and enamel in the Irwin Untermyer collection. Cambridge, Published for the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Harvard University Press, 1956, Pl. 48, fig. 73 and pp. 79-80.
Pauls-Eisenbeiss, Dr. Erika German porcelain of the 18th century. London & Fribourg, 1972, pp. 298-301.
Jansen, Reinhard, ed. Commedia Dell'Arte, Fest der Komödianten, Keramische Kostbarkeiten aus den Museen der Welt Stuttgart: Arnoldsche, 2001, Cat. 22.
Honey, W. B. Dresden china: an introduction to the study of Meissen porcelain. London: Faber & Faber, 1954, Pl. XLI (c).
Röbbig-Reyes, Michael. Selected Works: Early German Porcelain & Eighteenth-Century Art, Furniture, and Objets d'Art, Röbbig, Munich, 2013, cat. 17, pp. 136-137 and p. 42

Materials

Hard paste porcelain

Techniques

Painted; Gilded

Subjects depicted

Diaper; Commedia dell'arte; Rosettes; Flowers

Categories

Ceramics; Porcelain; Figures & Decorative ceramics

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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