Marble Portrait Relief of a Magistrate or Judge
Marble Portrait Relief of a Magistrate or Judge
Marble Portrait Relief of a Magistrate or Judge

Circle of ANTOINE COYSEVOX (1649-1720)

Marble Portrait Relief of a Magistrate or Judge

c. 1700 France

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Circle of Antoine Coysevox (Lyons, 1640-1720, Paris)
Portrait relief of a Magistrate or Judge
French, Louis XIV, circa 1700
Marble, pigment applied to hair
Height: 45 cm. / 17 ¾ ins, diameter: 35 cm. / 13 ¾ ins

This portrait relief of a judge or magistrate, identified by his double-winged collar and large flowing wig, relates to a genre of portrait sculpture which became particularly popular in France during the reign of the Sun King, Louis XIV (1638-1715). During his reign, Louis developed a large and competitive circle of sculptors who set up studios at his court in Versailles, as well as in Paris. Two of the most successful court sculptors of this period were François Girardon (1628-1715) and, towards the end of the century, Antoine Coysevox, who both produced relief portraits of the King. It is in the later works by Coysevox, and in the circle of sculptors who trained in his studio where we find the closest similarities to the present relief.

Portraits by Coysevox exhibit a similar attention to the individual features of the sitter, known as verism, as we find in this one. Among the sculptors active in Coysevox’s circle during this period was François Coudray (1678-1727), who trained in Coysevox’s studio in the 1690s before moving to Paris and later to Saxony, where he worked for the Elector Augustus the Strong. A relief by Coudray of the Elector’s son, Prince Friedrich August II (c.1725, Schloss Moritzburg, Germany), may be related to our relief in terms of the thick, flowing locks of the wig, as well as appearing to have a similar dark pigment applied to the hair. These similarities in style and execution, as well as the importance of the sitter, suggest that the author of this relief trained under Coysevox and worked in his circle in Paris or Versailles.
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