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Model by Johann Joachim Kaendler,
probably ca. 1739-40
Manufacture and decoration Meissen,
Cobalt-blue crossed swords mark
on the unglazed underside
H. 28.6 cm
In emulation of the French example, the stricter court ceremonial became, the more its members felt the desire for relaxation and moments of privacy. This mood was sensitively expressed in the oeuvre of Antoine Watteau and more graphically and intensively in the delicate, sensual paintings of François Boucher. To the members of the court, the life led by shepherds and shepherdesses must have seemed an ideal one, void of burdensome duties and allowing ample time for the pleasures of love. So it was that the pastoral idyll entered the masquerades and costumed celebrations of court ceremony.
The creation by the Meissen porcelain modeller Johann Joachim Kaendler of a new type of small-scale sculpture provided a fitting matrix for the expression of these feelings in pastoral figures and figural groups. In 1738, he incorporated figures in pastoral costume into what formally speaking was a Handkuss scene under a tree. The present group set on a flowery sward shows that the lady proved more than willing to respond to the gentleman’s admiring advances, as the couple now have their clothes loosened and are blissfully engaged in amorous dalliance. With his jacket hanging open, the straw-hatted gentleman-shepherd is reaching down to fondle the head of the dog sitting quietly by his side, while his shepherdess is dreamily stroking a lamb upon her lap, and touchingly laying her head upon her loved one’s shoulder.
Kaendler drew inspiration for this intimate scene from the engraving Bergère et son mouton penchée sur son berger after a painting by François Boucher (1703-1770), which is found as plate 3 in the Quatrième Livre de sujet et pastorales of the Parisian engraver Gabriel Huquier (1725-1805). Boucher had, in turn, been inspired by Antoine Watteau’s Le denicheur de moineaux (The raider of the sparrow’s nest), painted around 1710-12 and which is now preserved at the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh.
While the model cannot be identified in the work reports, it has long been associated with an entry in the Taxa in which Kaendler recorded his after-hours work, even though the description does not correspond in all details with the extant examples: 1. Little group showing a woman well dressed in an open sack-back gown and a shepherd, also in fine clothes, in fond embrace, with a little sheep also to be seen, 12 thalers (1. Grouppgen, ein Frauenzimer in einer Andrijan [for Adrienne] wohlgepuzt vorstellend, ingl. Einen Schäffer in seinem Habit wohl angekleidet, welche einander embrassiren, worbey noch ein Schäffgen zu befinden, 12. Thlr.; Rafael 2009, p. 55, no. 117). The model recorded may have been a variant of the subject, especially as the group is known with and without the tree, which is not mentioned. The present examples came from one and the same set of working moulds and display charming details added by the repairer who, in one instance, put a squirrel in amongst the branches of the tree. The model was very popular and was last reworked at the beginning of 1771, when it received the form number D 19.
For comparison (all with tree):
Berlin, Kunstgewerbemuseum (Bursche 1980, pp. 308-09, nos. 316-17); Dresden, Porzellansammlung; Hartford, Conn.,The Wadsworth Atheneum; London, Victoria & Albert Museum; Naples, Museo Duca di Martina; New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Hackenbroch 1956, p. 105, fig. 95, pl. 65); Paris, Musée des Arts dé-coratifs (exh. cat. Dijon 2001, pp. 62-63, no. 59); Rome, Pinacoteca Capitolina, Cini Collection (mus. cat. Rome 2007, p. 46, no. 17).
Exh. cat. Cologne 2010, p. 85, no. 9
Stefan Bursche, Meissen. Steinzeug und Porzellan des 18. Jahrhunderts. Kunstgewerbemuseum Berlin, Berlin 1980.
Exh. cat. Cologne 2010
Brattig, Patricia, ed. Meissen. Barockes Porzellan. Exh. cat. Museum für angewandte Kunst Köln, Cologne, January 24–April 25. Stuttgart, 2010.
Exh. cat. Dijon 2001
Un cabinet de Porcelaines. Porcelaines de Saxe dans les collections publiques parisiennes. Exh. cat. Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon, June 16–October 1, 2001. Dijon, 2001.
Yvonne Hackenbroch, Meissen and other continental porcelain, faience and enamel in the Irwin Untermyer collection, Cambridge 1956.
Mus. cat. Rome 2007
Guarino, Sergio, and Andreina d’Agliano. Pinacoteca Capitolina. Porcellane europee e orientali. Milan, 2007.
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