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Summer

  • Object:

    Cast of a Relief

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (Copy, made)
    Paris (Original, made)

  • Date:

    (sculpted)
    ca. 1890 (made)
    late 18th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Mathivet, L. Monsieur (caster)
    Clodion, born 1738 - died 1814 (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted plaster cast

  • Museum number:

    REPRO.1890-206

  • Gallery location:

    Cast Courts, The Ruddock Family Cast Court, Room 46A, case WE

The cast reproduces one of a set of reliefs depicting the four seasons by the French sculptor Clodion. He created the reliefs for the president of the Paris Parliament at the time, Étienne François d’Aligre. Clodion is best known for his small terracotta groups, but he also produced architectural sculpture. Around 1806, he sculpted a vast commemorative scene of Napoleon’s troops entering Munich for the monumental Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in Paris.

Physical description

Plaster cast of a relief, in stone, with a representation of summer formerly in a house in the Rue de Bondy, Paris.

Place of Origin

Paris (Copy, made)
Paris (Original, made)

Date

(sculpted)
ca. 1890 (made)
late 18th century (made)

Artist/maker

Mathivet, L. Monsieur (caster)
Clodion, born 1738 - died 1814 (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques

Painted plaster cast

Dimensions

Height: 112 cm, Width: 43.5 cm

Object history note

Cast of a carved stone relief created in Paris, France by Monsieur L. Mathivet about 1890and was purchased from the Union Centrale des Arts decoratifs, Paris in 1890 for 50 francs. The cast reproduces one of a set of reliefs depicting the four seasons by the French sculptor Clodion. He created the reliefs for the president of the Paris Parliament at the time, Étienne François d’Aligre.

Historical context note

Making plaster copies is a centuries-old tradition that reached the height of its popularity during the 19th century. The V&A's casts are of large-scale architectural and sculptural works as well as small scale, jewelled book covers and ivory plaques, these last known as fictile ivories.

The Museum commissioned casts directly from makers and acquired others in exchange. Oronzio Lelli, of Florence was a key overseas supplier while, in London, Giovanni Franchi and Domenico Brucciani upheld a strong Italian tradition as highly-skilled mould-makers, or formatori.

Some casts are highly accurate depictions of original works, whilst others are more selective, replicating the outer surface of the original work, rather than its whole structure. Like a photograph, they record the moment the cast was taken: alterations, repairs and the wear and tear of age are all reproduced in the copies. The plasters can also be re-worked, so that their appearance differs slightly from the original from which they were taken.

To make a plaster cast, a negative mould has to be taken of the original object. The initial mould could be made from one of several ways. A flexible mould could be made by mixing wax with gutta-percha, a rubbery latex product taken from tropical trees. These two substances formed a mould that had a slightly elastic quality, so that it could easily be removed from the original object. Moulds were also made from gelatine, plaster or clay, and could then be used to create a plaster mould to use for casting.
When mixed with water, plaster can be poured into a prepared mould, allowed to set, and can be removed to produce a finished solid form. The moulds are coated with a separating or paring agent to prevent the newly poured plaster sticking to them. The smooth liquid state and slight expansion while setting allowed the quick drying plaster to infill even the most intricate contours of a mould.
Flatter, smaller objects in low relief usually require only one mould to cast the object. For more complex objects, with a raised surface, the mould would have to be made from a number of sections, known as piece-moulds. These pieces are held together in the so-called mother-mould, in order to create a mould of the whole object. Once the object has been cast from this mother-mould, the piece-moulds can be easily removed one by one, to create a cast of the three-dimensional object.

Descriptive line

Plaster cast of a relief by Monsieur L. Mathivet about 1890 which shows one of a set of reliefs depicting the four seasons originally made by the French sculptor Clodion in 1772.

Labels and date

3. Cast of
Clodion (Claude Michel) (1738–1814)
Summer
1772

The cast reproduces one of a set of reliefs depicting the four seasons by the French sculptor Clodion. He created the reliefs for the president of the Paris Parliament at the time, Étienne François d’Aligre. Clodion is best known for his small terracotta groups, but he also produced architectural sculpture. Around 1806, he sculpted a vast commemorative scene of Napoleon’s troops entering Munich for the monumental Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in Paris.

Cast
Monsieur L. Mathivet
About 1890
Painted plaster
Paris, France
Purchased from the Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs, Paris in 1890
Museum no. Repro.1890-206

Original
Carved stone
Originally from a house in Rue de Bondy, Paris
Musée du Louvre, Paris [04/07/2018]
The original from which this cast was made was produced by the French sculptor Clodion (1738-1814). It is one of four reliefs depicting the seasons which he created for the comte de Marans, marquis d'Aligre, President of the Parliament of Paris, Étienne François d’Aligre, for his house, the hôtel d’Aligre, in the rue de Bondy in Paris. Clodion is renowned for his small terracotta groups, but he also produced architectural sculpture, as seen here. In 1806-8 he was to sculpt a monumental depiction of Napoleon’s troops triumphantly entering Munich for the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in Paris.

Holly Trusted []

Production Note

House in Rue de Bondy, Paris

Materials

Plaster; Paint

Techniques

Casting; Painting

Subjects depicted

Wheat; Summer; Putti

Categories

Ph_survey; Sculpture; Plaster Cast; Copies; Cast Courts

Production Type

Copy

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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