Venus Instructing Cupid – Etienne-maurice Falconet

FRENCH, 1716-1791

Falconet was one of those sculptors of the eighteenth century who won fame by doing a small thing superlatively well, and although his ideas were limited to a small compass and his handling without variety, he achieved within his limitations a high perfection and a lasting popularity. His little groups of Venus and the infant Cupid, of which this is a typical example, are invariably charming in fancy, graceful in design, and beautiful in texture. They were made for ornaments on mantelpieces and seem especially appropriate to the age of Louis XV I, although most of them probably date from the previous reign. Falconet’s work, like Clodion’s, has from the sculptor’s own day been eagerly sought for and is now rated very high in the appreciation of collectors.