Drawing, Design for Two Andirons and Sconce of Gilt Bronze, 1777–90
This is a Drawing. It was created by Jean Démosthène Dugourc and made for François-Joseph Belanger. It is dated 1777–90 and we acquired it in 1921. Its medium is pen and black ink, brush and watercolor on paper, lined, framed with brown paper and pen and black ink lines. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.
Two andirons (firedogs) and a wall sconce forms a dazzling triad of neoclassical designs on the surface of this sheet. The drawing has been attributed to Jean Démosthène Dugourc (1749-1825), the French architect who served as a furniture designer to the French crown and later became the first architect to the King of Spain. The andiron on the left is composed of a classical vase flanked by sphinxes with paws feet resting on cannon balls. The andiron on the right shows griffins on either side of a flaming altar. The center sconce displays a young boy with a flame on his head grasping branches that serve as candle holders with laurel leaves by his feet. This highly finished watercolor was likely a presentation drawing for royal patron, perhaps Marie Antoinette as the blue roundels on one of the andirons displays the queen’s initials. The combination of Egyptian, Roman and Classical motifs echo the influence of Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s eccentric decorative vocabulary and are examples of extravagant decorative follies at a contentious moment in French history.
Its dimensions are
Sheet: 20.5 x 29.3 cm (8 1/16 x 11 9/16 in.)
It is inscribed
Inscribed in pen and brown ink, lower margin: Chevets et Bras en Bronze doré. No 5. Belanger; initials "MA" are inscribed in the medallion on the base under the urn; center of altar, initials "AXV" in the medallion.
Cite this object as
Drawing, Design for Two Andirons and Sconce of Gilt Bronze, 1777–90. pen and black ink, brush and watercolor on paper, lined, framed with brown paper and pen and black ink lines. Purchased for the Museum by the Advisory Council. 1921-6-61.