The Binding of the Sleeping Silenus

Relief
ca. 1650-1670 (made)
The Binding of the Sleeping Silenus thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Sculpture, Room 111, The Gilbert Bayes Gallery
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The monochrome colouring of material meant that these ivories could ape in miniature the ancient marbles much valued by connoisseurs and collectors of the time. This ivory is made after François du Quesnoy who was a Netherlandish sculptor, who spent most of working life in Rome and assimilated the classical style. His tender and sensuous reliefs of cupids, satyrs and small children were highly influential. See also inv.nos. 1060 to 1064-1853 for further reliefs in this group. It may have been made soon after his death in the second half of the seventeenth century Boudon-Machuel calls them pasticci, pastiches derived from in part from other compositions which Du Quesnoy executed on a larger scale in marble. Variants are also known in bronze, enamel and porcelain. The nicks on the back of the present reliefs, show that they were differentiated, and must have been made to indicate how they should be displayed at one time. The reliefs vary slightly in size from one another, but fundamentally they form a set, and must have been shown as a group together.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitleBacchanalian scenes (named collection)
Materials and Techniques
Ivory
Brief Description
Relief, ivory carved in high relief, Bacchanalian scenes, after François Du Quesnoy, South Netherlandish, ca. 1650-1670
Physical Description
Relief depicting a group of seven cupids and child centaurs binding the sleeping Silenus with ivy wreaths while a nymph is painting his brows with the juice of mulberries; fighting and drinking; making wine in a vat. There are trees and a distant cityscape. Two pairs of holes are drilled into the top for fixing purposes.
Dimensions
  • Height: 11cm
  • Width: 15.8cm
Object history
Bought for £26 5s. in 1853 (vendor unrecorded). Perhaps purchased from Benjamin Lewis Vuilliamy (1780-1854), clockmaker to the Queen. Possibly formerly in the collection of the Earl of Bessborough, sale Christie's, London, 7 February 1801, lot 30 (sold for £141 15s.):'six beautiful Groups of Boys, exquisitely carved in ivory, from nature, by Fiamingo; truly chef d'oevres of this celebrated artist; from the collections of the great Duke of Buckingham.
Production
After François Du Quesnoy
Subjects depicted
Summary
The monochrome colouring of material meant that these ivories could ape in miniature the ancient marbles much valued by connoisseurs and collectors of the time. This ivory is made after François du Quesnoy who was a Netherlandish sculptor, who spent most of working life in Rome and assimilated the classical style. His tender and sensuous reliefs of cupids, satyrs and small children were highly influential. See also inv.nos. 1060 to 1064-1853 for further reliefs in this group. It may have been made soon after his death in the second half of the seventeenth century Boudon-Machuel calls them pasticci, pastiches derived from in part from other compositions which Du Quesnoy executed on a larger scale in marble. Variants are also known in bronze, enamel and porcelain. The nicks on the back of the present reliefs, show that they were differentiated, and must have been made to indicate how they should be displayed at one time. The reliefs vary slightly in size from one another, but fundamentally they form a set, and must have been shown as a group together.
Associated Objects
Bibliographic References
  • Laurent, M. Quelques oeuvres inédites de François Duquesnoy. Gazette des Beaux-arts. May 1923, pp. 298-300, ill.
  • Bellori, Giovanni Pietro. Le vite de' pittori, scvltori et architetti moderni. Rome : per il succeso, al Mascardi, 1672, p. 271
  • Scherer, Christian. Elfenbeinplastik seit der Renaissance. Leipzig : H. Seemann Nachfolger, [1903], pp. 30 ff
  • Maskell, Alfred. Ivories. London : Methuen & Co., [1905], p. 286, Pl. LVIII
  • Webb, M. Michael Rysbrack Sculptor. London: 1954, p. 25
  • Boudon-Machnel, M. François Duquesnoy 1597-1643. Paris: 2005, pp. 44-83
  • Beaven, L. 'Camillo Massimi as Patron of Scultors: François Duquesnoy, Alessandro Algardi, Francesco Fontana and Cosimo Fancetti', Melbourne Art Journal, no. 3, 1999, p. 28 and figs. 4-7 on pp. 28-29
  • Lock, L. E. ' Art and Management of Netherlandish Wood Sculpture 1600 - 1750', Sculpture Journal, XII, 2004, pp. 27-28, fig. 2 on p. 25
  • Inventory of Art Objects Acquired in the Year 1853. In: Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, Arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol I. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 41
  • The Art Journal, no. 852, pp. 115, 146, 191, 219, 244, 277
  • Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. Part II. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1929, p. 73
  • Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, cat. no. 101
Collection
Accession Number
1059-1853

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 createdDecember 12, 2003
Record URL