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Bacchante Supported by Bacchus and a Faun

Bacchante Supported by Bacchus and a Faun, 1795

Clodion (Claude Michel)
French, 1738-1814
20 in. (50.8 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

Claude Michel, known as Clodion, was one of the most creative and technically gifted French sculptors in the second half of the 18th century. Although skilled at executing monumental sculpture in marble, he was primarily known for his small and delicate terracotta statuettes. In this example, a young bacchante—a female follower of the Greek god of wine, Bacchus—is playfully carried by Bacchus and a faun.

Terracotta, a type of clay-based ceramic, rose in popularity under Louis XV’s reign. When moist, the clay can be easily shaped by a sculptor’s fingers or modeled with an ébauchoir, a type of wooden tool. The sensitivity of the medium allows for subtle and complex detail, as seen in Bacchus’s garland and the figures’ finely modeled hair.

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