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

The Nymph of Fontainebleau

Plaster Cast
1542 (commissioned), ca. 1864 (cast)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This is a plaster cast made by Desachy in France in about 1864. It is a copy of the original bronze lunette designed by Cellini to be set above the entrance to the royal château of Fontainebleau, the languid nymph contrasting with the forest animals, and the stag's head, a heraldic device of François I, King of France. The lunette was never in fact put in place, but a variant was later made for the château at Anet, Eure et Loire.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.
(Some alternative part names are also shown below)
  • Relief Nymph of Fontainbleau Bronze by Cellini
  • Relief Nymph of Fontainbleau Bronze by Cellini
  • Right Antler
  • Relief Nymph of Fontainbleau Bronze by Cellini
  • Left Antler
Materials and Techniques
Plaster cast
Brief Description
Plaster cast from the original bronze lunette The Nymph of Fontainebleau by Benvenuto Cellini (1500-71), commissioned in 1542, in the Musée du Louvre, France, cast by M. Desachy, Paris, about 1864
Physical Description
Plaster cast from the original bronze lunette devised by Cellini to be both an allegory of Fontainebleau and to show the stag, a device of Francois I, King of France. Part of an unfinished scheme for the principal entrance to the palace at Fontainbleau.
Dimensions
  • Length: 410cm
  • Width: 198.5cm
Object history
Purchased from Monsieur Desachy in 1864 for £36
Historical context
Part of a scheme for 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.
Subject depicted
Summary
This is a plaster cast made by Desachy in France in about 1864. It is a copy of the original bronze lunette designed by Cellini to be set above the entrance to the royal château of Fontainebleau, the languid nymph contrasting with the forest animals, and the stag's head, a heraldic device of François I, King of France. The lunette was never in fact put in place, but a variant was later made for the château at Anet, Eure et Loire.
Collection
Accession Number
REPRO.1864:2 to 4-104

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record createdSeptember 14, 2006
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