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Comte de Caylus, Anne-Claude-Philippe de Tubières

(1692–1765, Paris)

Le Triomphe d’Amphitrite. Etching with burin after Edme Bouchardon. 40.3 x 58.3 cm. Inventaire du Fonds Français (Fessard) 18; Exhibition catalogue Edme Bouchardon (1698–1762): une idée du beau, edited by Anne-Lise Desmas, Édouard Kopp et al., Paris 2016, p. 300, fig. 104.

Edme Bouchardon’s Triumph of Amphitrite is a pendant to his Triumph of Bacchus (cat. Paris 2016, no. 183). Both works were engraved by Caylus and Fessard and are among the four largest prints after drawings by Bouchardon. This imposing composition shows Amphitrite next to Poseidon traversing the sea in a monumental shell drawn by two sea horses. After her flight to escape the advances of the enamoured Poseidon, Amphitrite was found by one of the sea god’s dolphins and persuaded to yield to Poseidon. Accompanied by a picturesque escort of Nereids, Tritons and sea creatures, the main protagonists with the young Amphitrite, who looks reverently up at Poseidon, are grouped together in a compositional rocaille. The scene is imbued with an extremely dynamic inner agility that is very much in the Rococo spirit. The lapping waves are rendered with consummate skill. Organic forms blend with the figures of the gods and mythical figures to produce a synthesis of outstanding originality. A very fine, crisp impression with margins, trimmed to the platemark at the top. Unobtrusive smoothed central fold, minor traces of handling, otherwise in excellent condition.

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