L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Friday, May 18, 2018

Jeune Berger, ou Adonis, by Barthélemy Blaise, 1785

Of white marble, the statue is 32 inches in height.

The story of Adonis has its source in Ovid's Metamorphoses. In the first-century AD telling of the myth, he was conceived after Aphrodite cursed his mother Myrrha to lust after her own father, King Cinyras of Cyprus. Myrrha had sex with her father in complete darkness for nine nights, but he then discovered her identity and chased her with a sword. The gods transformed her into a myrrh tree and, in the form of a tree, she gave birth to Adonis. Aphrodite found the infant and gave him to be raised by Persephone, the queen of the Underworld. Adonis grew into an astonishingly handsome young man, causing Aphrodite and Persephone to feud over him, with Zeus eventually decreeing that Adonis would spend one third of the year in the Underworld with Persephone, one third of the year with Aphrodite, and the final third of the year with whomever he chose. Adonis chose to spend his final third of the year with Aphrodite. One day, Adonis was gored by a wild boar during a hunting trip and died in Aphrodite's arms as she wept tears of sorrow. His blood mingled with her tears and became the anemone flower.


Barthélemy Blaise (25 January 1738, Lyons - 2 April 1819, Paris), French sculptor. A student at the school of drawing in Lyon , he also studied in Rome. Back in Lyon by 1768, he worked regularly with the architect Martin Decrenice. He moved to Paris in 1785 and was soon accredited to the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture. Adopting the neoclassical style, he exhibited his Jeune Berger, ou Adonis along with a Leda at the Salon of 1787. That same year he was given commissions by Louis XVI, including for the decoration of the not yet complete Panthéon, and for the mausoleum of the late Minister of State, the comte de Vergennes. During the Revolution, the artist was compelled to hide his work for the mausoleum - which was not installed in the church of Notre-Dame de Versailles until 1818, after the Restoration - then, during the Terror, he left Paris with his family. He later completed much work under the Bonaparte régime. He was awarded many commissions, both public and private, his subject matter ranging from religious and mythological imagery to portraiture.

The plaster model.

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