• Rome, before 1631
  • Patinated plaster, definitive/original model used for the other known replicas
  • Inv. 546

Sacred and Profane Love

François Du Quesnoy

François Du Quesnoy made a name for himself with a number of ‘inventions’ which largely feature young children. Staying true to the classical tendency, he opted to use a small number of figures and a single plane in his compositions, exhibiting a thorough knowledge of Antiquity.

This bas-relief narrates three phases of an episode: the struggle between sacred love and profane love (climax), provoked by the stolen bow (prologue), which takes place in the presence of witnesses. A winner and a loser emerge, and the winner is appropriately rewarded (epilogue). The story was inspired by Book VI of the Imagines, by Philostratus, although Du Quesnoy added a number of details from his own imagination.

The bas-relief is the sculptural medium which best lends itself to narrative and can, furthermore, be adapted for architectural use, which explains its frequent use in the buildings of Antiquity.

Henry Harris Collection. Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian from Arthur Ruck, London, December 1919.

H. 60 cm; W. 105 cm

Fransolet 1942

Mariette Fransolet, François Du Quesnoy, sculpteur d’Urbain VIII, 1597-1643. Brussels: Palais des Académies, 1942, p. 186.

Faldi 1959

Italo Faldi, 'Le virtuose operationi di Francesco Duquesnoy scultore incomparabile', in Arte Antica e Moderna. Bologna: Zanichelli Editore, 1959, pp. 52–62.

Freytag 1976

Claudia Freytag, 'Neuentdeckte Werke des François du Quesnoy', in Pantheon, III, 1976.

Figueiredo 1999

Maria Rosa Figueiredo, European Sculpture Catalogue, vol. II. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 1999, pp. 56–61.

Boudon-Machuel 2005

Marion Boudon-Machuel, François Du Quesnoy (1597–1643). Paris: Arthena, 2005.

Gutmann, n. d.

Elizabeth Gutmann, Frans Duquesnoy 'Il Fiammingo' in Rom. Ph.D thesis, Vienna, Ms.

Updated on 09 june 2022

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