Large KPM porcelain plaque after Louis Gallait
German, Late 19th Century
Frame: height 53cm, width 48cm, depth 6cm
Plaque: height 40cm, width 35cm
Signed to the front lower right and with impressed KPM marks to reverse, this superb porcelain plaque takes for its subject an artwork by Louis Gallait, a leading Belgian artist of the nineteenth century. It depicts a young man playing the violin before a rocky ledge, while a sleeping maiden rests her head in his lap, her eyes closed. A hat full of grapes sit at his feet, and a tambourine is scattered in the foreground to the lower right.
The idyllic rocky outcrop on which they rest contrasts with the numinous power of the atmospheric mountainous backdrop, drawing attention to the poignancy and intimacy of the composition. The emotional resonance of the interaction is highlighted by the pensive look of the young man, who plays his violin in pizzicato so as not to disturb his companion. The original painting is variously called ‘The Power of Music,’ ‘Music Hath Charms,’ and fittingly: ‘Consolation,’ or ‘Solace.’ Gallait’s original survives in more than one version: one is purportedly in the National Museum of Warsaw, another in the Hermitage, while one is for certain in the collection of the Walters Art Museum of Baltimore.