Allegories of Day and Night

Claude Michel, called Clodion (1738–1814)
Allegories of Day and Night, c. 1780–90
Terracotta
6 3/4 in. (17.3 cm)
Private Collection

On view October 2014–April 2015

In this pair of works from his mature period in Paris, Clodion animates the classical bust format with the expressive naturalism characteristic of late eighteenth-century French sculpture. Personified as a young girl with lush curls and placid features, Day embodies the bounty, warmth, and promise of the sunlit hours in her carefree dishabille. Her foil, Night, lifts her gaze toward the celestial bodies in the heavens, shielding herself from the cool evening air with a stole adorned with moons and stars. These intimately scaled, deftly modeled terracottas likely complemented a fashionable interior ensemble.