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, in London, 11 December 1919.
H. 60 cm; W. 105 cm
Mariette Fransolet – François Du Quesnoy, sculpteur d’Urbain VIII, 1597-1643. Bruxelles : Palais des Académies, 1942, p. 186.
Italo Faldi – Le virtuose operationi di Francesco Duquesnoy scultore incomparabile. In Arte Antica e Moderna, Bologne: Zanichelli Editore, 1959, p. 52-62.
Claudia Freytag – Neuentdeckte Werke des François du Quesnoy. In Pantheon, III, 1976.
Maria Rosa Figueiredo – European Sculpture Catalogue. Lisbon : Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 1999, vol. II, p. 56-61.
Marion Boudon-Machuel – François Du Quesnoy (1597-1643). Paris : Arthena, 2005.
Elizabeth Gutmann – Frans Duquesnoy „Il Fiammingo“ in Rom. Dissertação de Ph.D, Wien, Ms.