The Collection

Johann Joachim Kaendler - Pantaloon and Columbine

Johann Joachim Kaendler (1706 - 1775)

Pantaloon and Columbine

Manufacture and decoration Meissen c. 1738
Crossed swords mark in cobalt blue on the unglazed underside

H. 17 cm (6¾ in.)
Work reports of Joseph Joachim Kaendler:
August 1738 (fols. 207r-208r)

“Renewed the model of Pantaloon and the woman he has beside him and put the same group into order once again for moulds to be made, because the former moulds had become unreliable through frequent use. In addition I finished a little ornamented stool that can be placed next to the figure, upon which a little dog is lying.” [Den Pantaleon Nebst seinem bey sich habenden Frauen Zimmer Verneuert und solches Groppgen zum abformen aufs Neue tüchtig gemacht. Weiln Vorige Forme Nach öfftern gebrauch Wandelbar Worden. Darzu ist noch ein Verziertes Taberettgen worauf ein Hündgen geleget, und neben die Figur gesetzet werden kann, gefertiget worden.] (U. Pietsch, Die Arbeitsberichte des Meissener Porzellanmodelleurs Johann Joachim Kändler 1706-1775, Leipzig 2002, p. 56).

Columbine is seated, wearing a blue cape lined in iron-red, a black bodice with a golden hem, and a purple skirt decorated with “Indian” floral decoration in dark purple and gold. In her right hand she is holding a mask half-painted in black, while with her left hand she is stroking the beard of Pantaloon, who is standing next to her.

Pantaloon is leaning down towards her with his right leg thrust forward and his hands clasped behind his back; he is wearing a yellow cape, blue jacket, black breeches and stockings, red pumps and a black cap. The group stands upon an irregular base of earth that is decorated with polychrome applied flowers.

This model was the second one in which Kaendler took as his subject one of the most popular themes of the commedia dell’arte: the doings of a flirtatious and high-spirited female in an encounter with a member of the opposite sex, and vice versa. Even though no longer as youthful as he once was, Pantaloon still feels the urge to win over beautiful women and makes approaches to Columbine, who is fully aware of her charms and coquettishly plucks at his beard, reminding one of the splendid scene illustrated in Gregorio Lambranzini (Neue und Curieuse Teatralische Tanz-Schule, Nuremberg 1716) in which Pandora grabs old Pantaloon’s beard in order to compel him to dance against his will.

The miserly Venetian merchant Pantaloon – bowing low in a courtly posture, his pointed beard stretched out to flatter the object of his courting but his left hand firmly behind his long cloak in order to safeguard his purse – is one of the most popular and most often represented figures of the Italian Comedy.

The graphic source for the present group could have been an engraving entitled “Bande der Italienischen Comoedianten” that was published in 1723 by the firm of Christoph Weigel, Nuremberg (mirror-image of the present group).
The entry in Kaendler’s work reports for August 1738 refers to the adaptation of an older, somewhat clumsy model by Kaendler, which for plausible stylistic reasons is generally dated to around 1736, and cannot be identified in his work reports.
From: G. Röbbig, John Pierpont Morgan. The Wadsworth Atheneum (Munich 2001), p. 11.

The present group is dated to 1738, the year Kaendler created the model, on account of the sharpness and clarity of its outlines, which indicate that it was manufactured with a set of moulds that had not been long in use.

Amongst the after-hours tasks performed by the Meissen former Johann Christoph Lange (1717-1779) at the end of 1738 were “12 Pantaloons with wench” [12 Stück Pantaleons mit Frauenzimmer], one of which was very likely the present example, not least because of its powerful colours, which are typical of this period when bold decoration was still the norm.

In 1741 the model was once again “completely renewed, because the moulds had been entirely ruined and were quite unusable, [völlig erneuert, weil die Forme Vorhero gäntzl. Ruinieret und unbrauchbar worden].

A similar example is preserved in the John Pierpoint Morgan Collection, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford (CT), published in: The Wadsworth Atheneum (Hartford 2000), p. 10, fig. 1; and a further one is published in U. Pietsch/C. Jakobsen, Frühes Meissener Porzellan. Kostbarkeiten aus deutschen Privatsammlungen (Munich 1996), p. 240, no. 194.

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