Porphyry vase "with dogs"
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Porphyry vase "with dogs"
Louis XIV brought together at Versailles more than 100 vases in rare ornamental stone, of which the majority were in porphyry, sought after more than any other material. Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683) continued to acquire vases from collectors in Rome. In 1683, the nomination of François Michel Le Tellier, Marquis of Louvois (1641-1691), to succeed Colbert as Superintendent of Buildings gave new impetus to this policy. Henceforth, in order to decorate the great space in the process of completion that was the Hall of Mirrors and the salons of the State Apartments, porphyry vases were ordered directly from the stone-cutting workshops in Rome. In total, around 60 porphyry vases were brought together at Versailles, of which the majority were displayed in the Hall of Mirrors, alongside Alabaster vases recalling the materials used in the busts of the Caesars from the Mazarin collections, whose unusual duotone nature must have profoundly influenced the harmony of the gallery. The design sent to Rome for this vase, which is one of a pair, originally called for griffins, but the sculptor finally replaced them with dogs, as explained an in annotation to the drawing received at Versailles in March 1685. “We have changed the griffins into dogs, the latter being easier to polish in porphyry. ”
Nov 5, 2018
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