By Augustin Pajou / Portrait Bust / 18th century (1789)By Augustin Pajou
Portrait Bust
18th century (1789)

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Creator Name: Pajou, Augustin
Creator Role: Sculptor
Creator Dates/Places: 1730-1809
Creator Name-CRT: By Augustin Pajou
Title: Portrait Bust
Title Type: Object name
Title: Madame de Wailly
View: Detail
Creation Start Date: 1789
Creation End Date: 1789
Creation Date: 18th century (1789)
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: Marble; base of grey marble
Dimensions: 30 x 20 in. (76.2 x 50.8 cm); H. (without base) 24 1/2 in. (62.2 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 56.105
Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1956

The sitter was the wife of Pajou's lifelong friend Charles de Wailly, a companion from student days in Rome. De Wailly, court architect to Louis XVI, had built neighboring houses for Pajou and himself, and Pajou executed busts of the architect and his wife. After her husband's death, Madame de Wailly married M. de Fourcroy, a medical doctor and chemist.

The portrait of Madame de Wailly displays the sculptor's gifts to best advantage. The solidity that characterizes his work is enlivened by an equally characteristic linearity, resulting in a brilliant eighteenth-century version of a Roman matron's portrait. The sense of dignity does not suppress the spirit of humor and intelligence that radiates from Madame de Wailly's fully mature countenance. This maturity is echoed in Pajou's handling of her torso, emphasized by the clinging cloth that partly exposes her chest and ample shoulders. The sinuous, weighty curls that frame her face and cascade over her shoulders are insistently sculptural, lending harmony and equilibrium to the work.

AMICA ID: MMA_.56.105
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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