Sleeping Hermaphrodite

Probably commissioned by François Girardon (Troyes, France 1628–1715 Paris)
Sleeping Hermaphrodite
1699–1709
Bronze cast after a terracotta model attributed to François Duquesnoy (1597–1643)
Original carved gilt-wood base attributed to Gilles-Marie Oppenord (1672–1742)
8 1/4 x 9 1/8 x 17 1/8 in. (21 x 23.2 x 43.5 cm)

 

Girardon was sculptor to King Louis XIV, as well as a renowned collector. This bronze and its companion, Reclining Venus, were cast from terracotta models in his collection. Duquesnoy’s terracotta Hermaphrodite was a reduction of a famous Roman marble antiquity. The Venus was modeled by a student of Nicholas Poussin. Girardon had these figures made as a bronze pair to celebrate the achievement of the founders of French classicism. He updated the ensemble’s design by commissioning fantastic golden couches that were fashioned in the most exuberant contemporary style.