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Nymphs Holding Aloft a Platter Charged with Fruit

Claude Michel, called Clodion, French (active Paris), 1738 - 1814

Made in France, Europe

c. 1785-1793


Height (without base): 7 feet 11 1/4 inches (241.9 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

* Gallery 388, European Art 1500-1850, third floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Eva Roberts Stotesbury in memory of Edward T. Stotesbury, 1938

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This sculpture, its pendant group, and an identical pair of plaster groups now in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, were made to occupy corner niches in the dining room at 44 Rue des Petites-Ecuries in Paris, a town house owned by the count de Botterel-Quintin.

Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    Until the mid-eighteenth century, French houses did not often have a room specifically designated for dining. After the 1770s, however, fashionable clients commissioned dining rooms with lavish decoration that sometimes included large sculptures. This group of nymphs, along with a pendant group in the Museum and an identical pair in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, was made for four corner niches in the dining room of the Parisian town house of the count of Botterel-Quintin at number 44, rue des Petites-Ecuries. The dining room was a masterpiece of its time. The painted ceiling was devoted to the four seasons, a theme loosely related to the fruits borne by these plaster nymphs. The details throughout the room were in the popular Neoclassical style. Clodion was the great master of creating sculptures that combined an antique flavor with a sense of movement and lightly erotic charm. The nymphs' dancing poses and apparently weightless burden make the viewer forget Clodion's sculptural prowess in realizing these graceful figures at nearly the scale of life. Dean Walker, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 144.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.