The famed original model of this wonderful piece, known as ‘La Baigneuse’, or ‘Venus after the Bath’, is said to have impressed the French philosopher Diderot so much when he saw it at the 1767 Salon in Paris that he called it ‘the most beautiful figure of a woman the moderns had created’. Its creator, Christophe-Gabriel Allegrain (1710-1795), despite being relatively unknown at the time, had been commissioned to make it by King Louis XV. It was exhibited at the Salon of 1767 to great acclaim, and was later offered by Louis XV to his mistress Madame du Barry.
It was such a highly revered sculpture that it inspired a number of copies made during the 19th Century, including this fantastic piece, which captures all of the sensual, erotic, mortal essence of Allegrain’s original. The piece has a fluidity, a beautiful sense of movement and the sculpture as a whole is a distinctly modern take on Classical Roman sculpture. Where Classical sculptures of gods would depict idealised, perfect human bodies, here the figure is real, sinuous and charming as she participates in the quotidian activity of towelling herself after bathing.
The figure is set on a circular socle on a square ormolu plinth base. The marble is inscribed ‘Allegrain’.
Sculpture- height 87cm, width 30cm, depth 38cm
Base- height 8.5cm, width 29cm, depth 29cm
Overall- height 95.5cm, width 30cm, depth 38cm