A pair of patinated bronze antique plaques of Night and Day
French, Late 19th Century
80cm in diameter, 5cm in depth
Modelled after Bertel Thorvaldsen’s iconic ‘Night and Day’ reliefs, these roundels are a superb rendering in bronze of one of the great works of Neoclassical sculpture. Having long been a popular and noteworthy motif in Western art, the ‘Night and Day’ pairing was given a wonderful new representation in 1815 by the Danish master, one of the greats in the history of European sculpture. Blending baroque tradition with Neoclassical heroic grandeur, Thorvaldsen depicted Night and Day as a pair of Classical maidens, winged, and joined by cherubs, birds, and flowers.
‘Day’ is a graceful and spirited maiden, strewing flowers before her, and looking over at a shoulder at a putto who carries a burning torch, symbolising the dawn. ‘Night’ is her soporific and drowsy counterpart, drifting along sleepily, clutching two sleeping putti to her chest, gliding along in a state of insomnia with poppies, in an opium-induced haze.
With wonderful attention to anatomical detail and to the drapery and wings in particular, these works are worthy of Thorvaldsen’s great status and reputation in the history of sculpture.