LA GAZETTE N° 2
PAIRE OF SHEET METAL VASES
Painted and varnished sheet metal with gilded ornaments
L 20.7 – H. 37.8 – P. 20.7 cm
A pair of planter vases in painted and varnished sheet metal with gilded patterns on an oxblood red background, supported by four bronze claw feet with stylized lion heads. This pair of decorative vases proves the distinct taste of the scholarly community of the first half of the 19th century for the aesthetics of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance, known as "troubadour".
Represented in historical costume, which can be dated to between the end of the 15th and the first half of the 16th century, four characters form a characteristic iconographic discourse of courtly love, emphasising the expression of profane and sacred feelings through such themes as declaration, music (characters playing the lute and the psaltery) or pilgrimage. On the sides of the vases, each of the protagonists stands out in relief between friezes with an ogival motif, known as "à la cathédrale", filled with arcatures, with garlands supported by flowers, with hollow and poly-lobed gadroons, the scenes being punctuated by trophies in quivers on the side of the vase, reminding us of warlike jousts and chivalrous bravery.
This interest in "historicism" can be related to the work of artists such as Révoil and Fleury-Richard, but also Jean-Dominique Ingres, who found a significant resonance here in his genre scenes through the use of anecdote and an idealised historical universal.
THE VOGUE FOR SHEET METAL OBJECTS: FRENCH CRAFT
The enthusiasm for vases made of lacquered or varnished sheet metal was highly prevalent in the decorative arts of the first half of the 19th century, and our vases thus witness to this taste for the combination of technical performance and the illustration of favourite subjects for contemporaries.
In fact, since 1791, a man named Blaise-Louis Deharme had been at the head of workshops producing objects in varnished sheet metal. At first, he produced small works, then, encouraged by the government, the Manufacture de vernis sur métaux, located in rue Martel in Paris, produced two monumental vases, including the Egyptian vase in the Louvre. This large vase shows the interest for new materials in the early 19th century.
This trend first appeared at the Sèvres factory at the end of the Ancien Régime and continued throughout the 19th century.
- Samoyault J.-P., Chefs-d'oeuvre en tôle vernie de l'époque consulaire et impériale (1801-1806) in La Revue du Louvre et des musées de France, 1977, 5-6, p. 322-334.
- Elsa Cau – « Le style Troubadour, style à part entière ou mode éphémère ?», Mémoire de fin d'année, 2016
- « Des tôles peintes, objets de charme » : http://destolespeintes.free.fr