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Overview

Known for playfully sensuous terracotta nymphs and satyrs, Clodion also portrayed more serious subjects from Classical myth and history. An ancient draped figure at the Uffizi in Florence, then known as a vestal, inspired him during a stay in Italy to make several statuettes of a priestess of the Roman hearth goddess Vesta, pouring out oil to feed the sacred fire. This example of the popular theme was carved in Rome, probably as a commission from Empress Catherine II (the Great) of Russia. The vestals took vows of virginity and withdrew from worldly life, but Clodion endowed this dignified young woman with soft flesh and carved the fine raised folds and clinging panels of drapery to appreciatively model her figure.

Inscription

on base at back: CLODION. inv. fecit Romae. 1770

Provenance

Probably Catherine II of Russia [1729-1796], Saint Petersburg; Prince Gregory Alexandrovich Potemkin; his grand niece, Darja Nikolajewna Lopouchina, Moscow; W.N. Isakoff, Kiev, before 1904 until probably 1923.[1] David David-Weill [1871-1952], Neuilly-sur-Seine, before 1925;[2] sold 1937 to (Wildenstein & Co., New York), until at least 1940.[3] purchased 1949 by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; gift 1952 to NGA.

Exhibition History
1940
French XVIIIth Century Sculpture formerly of the David-Weill Collection, Wildenstein & Co., New York, April 1940, no. 37
1974
Nineteenth-Century Sculpture, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1974, unnumbered checklist.
2010
L'Antiquité rêvée. Innovations et résistances au XVIIIe siècle [Antiquity Revived. Neoclassical Art in the Eighteenth Century], Musée du Louvre, Paris; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2010-2011, not in French cat., no. 32 (English cat.), repro. (shown only in Houston).
Bibliography
1901
Benois, Alexandre, and Adrian Viktorovich Prakhov. Khudozestvennyia sokrovishcha Rossii--Les Trésors d'Art en Russie. 7 vols. Saint Petersburg, 1901-1907: 4(1904):53-56, pl. 20-23; 7(1907):206-207.
1910
Lami, Stanislas. Dictionnaire des Sculpteurs de l'Ecole française au dix-huitième siècle. 2 vol. Paris, 1910-1911: 2 : 150.

1910
Vöge, Wilhelm. Die Deutschen Bildwerke und die der anderen cisalpinen Länder. Berlin, 1910: 224.
1923
Bange, E.F. "Die Bildwerke in bronze und in anderen Metallen." In Demmler, Theodor, ed. Die Bildwerke des deutschen Museums. 4 vols. Berlin and Leipzig, 1923-1930: 2 (1923) : 46, n. 2751.
1925
Henriot, Gabriel. "La Collection David-Weill." L'Amour de l'Art (1925): 14, repro.
1951
Paintings and Sculpture from the Kress Collection Acquired by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation 1945-1951. Introduction by John Walker, text by William E. Suida. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1951: 258, no. 116, repro.
1959
Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1959: 451, repro.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 149.
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 132, repro.
1968
The French Bronze 1500-1800. Exh cat. M. Knoedler and Co., New York, 1968: no. 71.
1974
Hodgkinson, Terence. "A Clodion Statuette in the National Gallery of Canada." Bulletin, The National Gallery of Canada 24 (1974): 13-21.
1976
Middeldorf, Ulrich. Sculptures from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: European Schools XIV-XIX Century. London, 1976: 106.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 645, no. 1017, repro.
1992
Poulet, Anne L., and Gilhem Scherf. Clodion 1738-1814. Exh. cat. Musée du Louvre, Paris, 1992: 26-7, fig. 7.
1992
Scherf, Guilhem. "Clodion en Italie: 1762-1771." Dossier de l'Art (avril-mai 1992): 6-9, repro.
1994
Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1994: 47, repro.
1999
Norman Herz, Katherine A. Holbrow and Shelley G. Sturman. "Marble Sculture in the National Gallery of Art: a Provenance Study." In Max Schvoerer, ed. Archéomatériaux: marbres et autres roches: ASMOSIA IV, Bordeaux, France 9-13 october 1995: actes de la IVème Conférence international de l’Association pour l’étude des marbres et autres roches utilizes dans le passé. Talence, 1999: 101-110.
2000
Poulet, Anne, in Edgar Peters Bowron and Joseph J. Rishel, eds. Art in Rome in the Eighteenth Century. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2000: 250-251, under no. 127.
2005
The Arts of France from François Ier to Napoléon Ier. A Centennial Celebration of Wildenstein's Presence in New York. Exh. cat. Wildenstein & Co., Inc., New York, 2005: 65, fig. 92, 75, 246 (not in the exhibition).