MEISSEN GROUP OF PANTALONE AND COLUMBINE
Hard paste porcelain
Height: 6 ½ in. (16.5 cm)
Marks: Incised 34
A group of a seated Columbine affectionately stroking the beard of Pantalone who stands beside her. In her left hand she holds a mask; she wears a white cap, a light blue bodice over a white shirt and a white ruff at her neck. Her skirt is white, decorated with polychrome flowers. He wears a black hat, a yellow coat over a puce waiscoat and black breeches. A sword hangs at his left side.
This group is a modified version of a group that was made by Kaendler around 1736; the first model was so popular that it was cast twelve times in April and May of 1738. When Kaendler renewed the moulds he made several small modifications, which include moving the mask from behind Columbine’s back to at her side, improving the proportions of her head, and adding a ribbon and scarf to her bodice. This revised model also sometimes includes a long curl hanging from her chignon.
The diagonal fastening of Columbine’s bodice allows a ruffle of her chemise to show. The wrapped closing was a popular fashion in the years 1724-50 and is seen on a number of paintings of ladies from the Saxon0Polish court by Louis de Silvestre and now exhibited at Schloss Moritzburg. Although wrapping gowns were also found in England, it seems possible that the style was considered “Turkish” in Dresden and Warsaw. Unusually the chemise was edged discreetly with a finger width of lace, but here the ruffle is exaggerated and becomes almost an invitation. This model was based on an engraving by Christoph Weigel of 1723 showing a whole troupe of commedia actors. The woman in the engraving can be identified as an actress, then, and is most likely an inamorata playfully flirting with the elderly Pantalone. It is interesting that Kändler, when he updated the model in 1741, changed the costume and clothed the female figure in a popular Dresden fashion.