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‘The Birth of Venus’ by L. David
Framed Limoges enamel on copper depicting 'The Birth of Venus', after the painting by Alexandre Cabanel (1823-1889) which hangs in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.
Stretched out on the surface of the waves, her long hair forming a carpet beneath her, the goddess is looking towards the viewer from beneath the crook of her elbow with her eyes half closed. Five golden haired cherubs hover above, two of them draping a long diaphanous ribbon partially over her naked body, while two more are heralding the event by blowing a fanfare on conch shells.
A high quality enamel with subtle use of colour for the flesh tones and the figures standing out strongly against a rich blue background.
Signed in the lower right corner L. David and dated 1896.
The visible enamel plaque measures 9.5 cm high by a fraction under 18 cm wide with the overal framed size being 34 X 26.5 cm.
The original painting by Cabanel (shown in our last photo) created quite a stir when it was unveiled at the Paris salon of 1863 and was purchased at the time by Napoleon III for his private collection. Two further versions were subsequently commissioned from the artist, one of which is presently in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art while the other hangs in the Dahesh Museum of Art, also in New York.