Zephyrus and Flora

Claude Michel, called Clodion (1738–1814)
Zephyrus and Flora, 1799
Terracotta
20 3/4 in. (52.7 cm)
The Frick Collection, New York; Henry Clay Frick Bequest

Clodion demonstrates his mastery of the small-scale terracotta statuette in this joyful representation of the god of the west wind, a herald of spring, tenderly embracing the goddess of flowers as he crowns her with a wreath of roses. Identifying attributes — from Zephyrus’s breeze-blown drapery to the putti scattering flowers near Flora — enhance the spiraling energy of the composition. Although Clodion draws his subject from the antique, the figure group possesses the weightless elegance characteristic of his late style.