The Cupid Seller

Claude Michel, called Clodion (1738–1814)
The Cupid Seller (La marchande d’amours), c. 1765–70
Terracotta
8 3/4 x 10 7/8 in. (22.2 x 27.6 cm)
Anonymous Loan

Grasping the wings of an eagerly gesturing cupid, a seated vendor proffers love to a buyer flanked by an attendant. Clodion’s highly classicized composition, created during his formative years at the French Academy in Rome, presents a charming interpretation of a renowned ancient wall painting discovered near Pompeii and known through prints. Raised modeling emphasizes the female figures’ profiles and drapery, and delicate incising captures the illusion of their gracefully contoured limbs receding into space.