medallion design with birth of Venus; verso, on white paper, laid down on the blue mount in graphite: an architectural view with standing male figure with left hand, an overdoor gallery with a monkey holding a parrot

Design for a Token: Marine, 1744, c. 1743

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The Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Fundexpand_more  82.73

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Drawing was fundamental to the work of the sculptor Edme Bouchardon. This design for a French navy (Marine) token—one of hundreds of studies for medals and tokens he was hired to produce—is an exquisite example of his technical skill. Such tokens were issued every New Year’s day for employees of the royal administrations. Here the goddess Venus—born of the sea and thus a suitable marine subject—reclines elegantly on a narrow ledge, her pale, delicately modeled body standing out against the dark, richly drawn sea.

Knowing his design would be translated into a one-inch bronze relief, Bouchardon divided his scheme into three concise zones: sky, sea, and figure. Except for some charming sea objects in the foreground (coral, pearls, seashell), he included few details. The wavy sea, the goddess’s flirtatious turn of the head, and her fluttering hair add movement to the scene. Subtly enlivening the medallion format, Venus’s elbow and toe protrude slightly into the rigidly drawn border.

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Edme Bouchardon, Design for a Token, Marine
Details
Title
Design for a Token: Marine, 1744
Artist Life
1698 - 1762
Role
Artist
Accession Number
82.73
Provenance
Art market, Paris; [Sven H.A. Bruntjen, Woodside, Calif.x, until 1982; sold to MIA]
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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medallion design with birth of Venus; verso, on white paper, laid down on the blue mount in graphite: an architectural view with standing male figure with left hand, an overdoor gallery with a monkey holding a parrot