National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Painting and Sculpture Jean-Pierre-Antoine Tassaert (artist)
Flemish, 1727 - 1788
Painting and Sculpture, 1774/1778
marble
overall: 98.3 x 87.2 x 63.8 cm (38 11/16 x 34 5/16 x 25 1/8 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
1952.5.110
On View
From the Tour: Marble Sculpture from France
Object 5 of 8

With Clodion's Poetry and Music, this allegory was one of four that were meant to bring to life the abstract concepts of the arts and sciences. They were commissioned by Louis XV's finance minister Abbé Terray for his elaborate Paris residence. The subject was an appropriate one for Terray, since he also served briefly as the director of the king's buildings with overall responsibility for the state of the arts in France. Painting, sculpture, music, and literature are celebrated by the young cupidlike figures in the two works here; other children carved by two other artists represented geometry, geography, architecture, and astronomy.

Terray is representative of the private patrons who transformed the monumental public works of the preceding century into the more intimate works admired by eighteenth-century collectors. He was among the most unpopular of all Louis XV's ministers, accused of excessive luxury. When he was swiftly dismissed by the new king after Louis XV's death in 1774, a Parisian mob burned him in effigy. Public opinion notwithstanding, he seems to have tried to make much-needed economies in public spending, reform taxes, and reduce bloated state pensions.

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