Acquisition Campaigns | Jacques Saly’s Cupid Testing One of His Arrows

Posted in museums by Editor on October 21, 2015

From The Louvre:

Be a Patron of Love
Louvre Launches Campaign to Acquire
Jacques Saly’s Cupid Testing One of His Arrows

chef-d-oeuvre-jacques-salyIn 1753, sculptor Jacques Saly signed and dated his masterpiece, the marble statue Cupid Testing One of His Arrows (L’Amour essayant une de ses flèches). The piece had been commissioned a year earlier by the Marquise de Pompadour, royal mistress of Louis XV, and was presented to the king in person on August 11, 1753, before being installed at the Salon de l’Académie at the Louvre to be shown to the public for one month.

Jacques Saly was made royal sculptor in 1750, when he became a member of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. Recommended by renowned sculptor Edme Bouchardon, Saly was called to Denmark in 1753 to work on the equestrian statue of Frederick V and help establish the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. He did not return to France until 1774, two years before his death.

Despite his short artistic career in France, Saly received a number of prestigious commissions. His masterpiece remains Cupid Testing One of His Arrows, which Madame de Pompadour presented in her three favorite residences: the Château de Crécy and the Château de Bellevue, on the outskirts of Paris, and the Hôtel d’Evreux, future site of the Palais de l’Elysée. Hidden from view in private collections for over two centuries, Saly’s sculpture of Cupid was revealed to the public in 2002 for the exhibition Madame de Pompadour and the Arts at the Château de Versailles. It was listed as a National Treasure by the French state in 2006.

A masterpiece of French art by its delicateness of composition and virtuosity of marblework, the statue is also outstanding for the pedestal that has remained with it since the beginning. It was executed by the great sculptor and ornamentalist Jacques Verberckt, who produced sumptuous wood paneling for the Château de Versailles and the Château de Fontainebleau, and who was also a friend of Saly’s. It is indeed quite remarkable that the two royal sculptors worked together on the same commission.

To execute this spectacular work of art, Saly gave of his best and applied all of his expertise. Its reappearance in France is an unhoped-for opportunity to shine light on the artist, a highly skilled sculptor who was sensitive to the art of his time.

The Société des Amis du Louvre has already provided half of the amount required for this major acquisition. In order for the exceptional work of art to enter the national collections, the Musée du Louvre is calling upon the generosity of the public to raise a minimum of €600,000 before February 14, 2016.

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