Two Vases, ca. 1770–75
Gilt bronze by Pierre Gouthière (1732–1813)
After a design by François-Joseph Bélanger (1744–1818)
Porphyry carved in Rome in the eighteenth century
Red porphyry and gilt bronze
Musée du Louvre, Paris
A passionate collector of hardstones, the Duke of Aumont was particularly fond of marble, granite, porphyry, serpentine, jasper, and agate, which the neoclassical tastes of the time had brought back into fashion. When possible, he obtained them in Italy, which was generally thought to have the finest stones.
For these vases, which had been carved and polished in Rome, Gouthière was commissioned to produce gilt-bronze mounts. His intervention was minimal; he created extremely simple bases finely chased with friezes of interlacing motifs and strings of pearls.