L'amour Falconet or l'amour menaçant
Soft paste porcelain
Height: 9 1/2 in. (24.1 cm.)
This famous Sèvres model is known as l'amour Falconet after designer Etienne Maurice Falconet, director of sculpture at Sèvres from 1757 to 1766. He exhibited the original plaster versions of the figure at the Salon in 1755. The marble version of Cupid, made for Madame de Pompadour, was exhibited at the Salon in 1757, and then went to the Hôtel d’Evreux, her Paris house, which is now the Elysée Palace. The following year, 1758, the model was produced in biscuit at Sèvres. His pair, Psyche, was first produced in biscuit in 1761.
Cupid was always known as L’Amour Falconet at Sèvres. The plaster and marble versions have been variously called L’amour menaçant, L’amour silencieux and Garde à vous. The first biscuit example was sold on December 28, 1758 and Madame de Pompadour purchased one on December 30. Other royal purchasers of biscuit Cupids include the duc d’Orléans, Madame Victoire, Marie-Antoinette, Louis XVI and the duchesse de Chartres. Cupid is called “threatening” (menaçant) because he is about to withdraw a treacherous arrow – which compels its victim to fall in love – from his quiver, while placing a finger to his lips to signify silence or a secret.
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