The Cupid Seller

Terracotta sculpture in relief depicting a seated woman presenting a baby with wings to two other women, one of which seated and the other standing. Another baby with wings stands in the background and a third is in trapped in a cage in the foreground.

Claude Michel, called Clodion (1738–1814)
The Cupid Seller (La marchande d’amours), c. 1765–70
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.

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