Lot n° 189
6000 - 8000
Result without fees
: 6 100EUR
Attributed to Jean-Frédéric BRUCKMANN (active... - Lot 189 - Villanfray Pommery
Attributed to Jean-Frédéric BRUCKMANN (active in Paris in the late 17th and early 18th centuries)
Rare small oval enamel medallion cast in relief on gold plate decorated with a profile in majesty of King Louis XIV turned to the right. The Sun King is seen wearing a very long wig whose curls return on his forehead. He appears dressed in antique style, his neck uncovered and highlighted by a drapery, in full maturity, with his nose busted, which allows us to date it towards the end of the 17th century. The reverse side enamelled with a sky blue background.
It is probably the main element of a portrait box. Indeed, this kind of medallion was often set with a diamond surround and intended to be offered as a diplomatic gift (some chips). Height: 2,6 cm; Width: 2,1 cm. Cf: Rouillac sale 4/10/2020 lot 48. Cf: Sale of the collection Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé 24/02/2009 lot 120.
Jean-Frédéric BRUCKMANN is the author of portraits of Louis XIV intended for the Presents of the King; they are realized in a technique of his own invention, the enamel molded in relief on gold plate, and are inspired by metallic types: coins and medals. It is difficult to know how BRUCKMANN works to achieve this technique. The portrait, made of a beige enamel paste, is molded. This bas-relief stands out on a black enamel background applied on a gold plate. This technique has the advantage of being quicker and less expensive than classical enamel portraits, while still presenting the appearance of a precious cameo. Its achievements surprise by their finesse.
In the first half of the 17th century, these boxes containing miniature portraits in round or oval, or even square, shapes were first of all objects of sentiment. From the 1660s onwards, Louis XIV turned these precious objects into instruments of royal power, distributed by the hundreds as marks of honor to foreign dignitaries, men of war and faithful servants of the monarchy.
The portrait boxes were distinguished by the variety of their prices because their value was calculated not only according to the metals, but also and above all, according to the stones of which they were composed. Around 1660, most goldsmiths in Paris did not make the delicate portraits painted on enamel themselves, but bought them from miniature painters.
At the beginning of the reign of Louis XIV, the names of the goldsmiths who occasionally supplied portrait boxes appear in the accounting records known as the Mélanges Colbert, kept in the manuscript department of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
For about twenty years, two jewelers housed in the galleries of the Louvre, Laurent Le Tessier de Montarsy and his son Pierre, were the main suppliers.
The richness of their gold, silver and gemstone furnishings caused the loss of most of the entourages.
Only three portrait boxes of this artist are known: one in the Louvre, one in the municipal museum of Bologna, and one in Holland in the Gemeentemuseum of the Hague. Bibliography: "La boîte à portrait de Louis XIV", Michèle Bimbenet-Privat and François Farges. Ed. Somogy, 2015.
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