Circle of Antoine Coysevox
(Lyons 1640 – 1720 Paris)
Portrait relief of a Magistrate or Judge
French, circa 1700
Marble, pigment applied to hair
Height: 45 cm. / 17.75 in. Diameter: 35 cm. / 13.75 in.
This portrait relief of a magistrate or judge, identified by his double-winged collar and large 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). Louis cultivated 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 Francois Girardon (1628-1715) and, towards the end of the century, Antoine Coysevox (1640-1720), who both produced oval portraits of the King in relief. It is in the later works by Coysevox and in the circle of sculptors who trained in his workshop at Versailles where we find the closest similarities to the present relief.
Among the sculptors active in Coysevox’s circle during this period, François Coudray (1678-1727), who worked in Coysevox’s studio at Versailles in the late 1690s, produced several works in relief which may relate to the present portrait (see Souchal, op. cit.). Similarly, it is possible that the sitter was employed as one of the King’s magistrates at Versailles, where he would have commissioned this distinguished and charismatic portrait from one of the Court sculptors.