‘Gloria Victis’ – A Patinated Bronze Figural Group. After Mercié

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Object Description

‘Gloria Victis’ – A Fine Patinated Bronze Sculpture of Gloria Carrying the Angel Victis, after a Model by Marius-Jean-Antonin Mercié, Cast by Ferdinand Barbedienne.

The draped figure of Gloria carrying the angel Victis, on a naturalistic base. Parcel-gilt and brown patinated bronze. Titled to the base ‘Gloria Victis’ and inscribed ‘A. Mercié’ and ‘F. Barbedienne, Fondeur’. The underside stamped ‘330’ and ‘H’. The figure is raised on its original velvet covered stepped plinth.

French, Circa 1880.

Object History

Ferdinand Barbedienne

Ferdinand Barbedienne (1810-1892) was the inspiration and driving force behind one of the most important French art foundries. He pioneered the use of mounts and, more commonly, bronze sculpture including figures and animals. Barbedienne produced catalogues of bronze reproductions of Greek and Roman classical sculpture and experimented with champlevé and cloisonné enamels during the third quarter of the century. Barbedienne exhibited several pieces of furniture at the 1855 Paris Exhibition including an ormolu mounted oak dressing table and an ormolu mounted ebony veneered bookcase. Both pieces were executed in his favoured Renaissance revival style for furniture. Furniture with mounts signed by Barbedienne is extremely rare.

Marius-Jean-Antonin Mercié

Marius-Jean-Antonin Mercié (1845- 1916) was born in Toulouse and studied at the École des Beaux Arts, Paris, under Alexandre Falguière and François Jouffroy, He made his debut at the Salon in 1868 when he won the celebrated Grand Prix de Rome with the group ‘Thesée vainqueur du Minotaure’. This entitled him to study in Rome, and whilst studying in Rome from 1869 to 1873, he already executed the models for his first two popular works, ‘David’ and ‘Gloria Victis’. In 1873 Mercié was given the Cross of the Legion of Honour – an unprecedented award for a sculptor who was still a student at the French Academy in Rome.

Object Literature

For an interesting account of the process of creating a reduction in bronze of the Gloria Victis by Barbedienne and illustrations of the casting and finishing of the bronze see:
‘Ferdinand Barbedienne’: Child, Theodore; Harper’s new monthly magazine, Volume 73, Issue 436, September 1886.

Kjellberg, P: ‘Les Bronzes du XIXe Siècle’, Paris, 1989, p. 489.

‘Contemporary French Sculptors’: The Century, Volume 33, Issue 3, Jan 1887.

‘Modern French Sculpture’: Harper’s new monthly magazine, Volume 76, Issue 452,
January 1888.

Object Details

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