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FÉLICIE DE FAUVEAU (LEGHORN, 1801 – FLORENCE, 1886)

Portrait Bust of the Duchess of Berry


Marble 
Height 60 cm 
Signed and dated: F. DE Fauveau/ 1840, inscribed along the top: HENRICI GENITRIX

According to Sylvain Bellenger1, this bust of the Duchess of Berry is a dynastic portrait in which symbolic intent sacrifices physical likeness to an appearance so codified it might almost be heraldic. The composition sets the duchess inside the calyx of a fleur-de-lys, where the extremities of the stylised vegetation incorporate gilded split pomegranates. The gilding, the amaranthine and lapis lazuli colouring, the inscription bearing the legend HENRICI GENITRIX and the small battlemented towers resembling the fortifications of a castle all allude to the notion of fertility, of endurance and of the sacred nature of the dynasty.

Provenance: commissioned by Maria Carolina of Naples and Sicily, Duchesse de Berry, for her castle of Brunnsee in Austria;
Lucchesi Palli collection

Literature: D. M. [ARMAND LOYER DE MAROMME], Mademoiselle Félicie de Fauveau, in «L’artiste», May 1842 p. 86;
S. LAMI, Dictionnaire des sculpteurs de l’École Française au dix-neuvième siècle, 1916, p. 347;
J. BARBOTTE, Félicie de Fauveau, héroine vendéenne et sculpteur romantique, 1801-1866, 1971, unpublished, Paris, Mémoire de l’école du Louvre, pp. 118-119;
D. GAZE (ed.), Dictionary of Women Artists, vol. 1, Chicago 1997, p. 511;
S. BELLENGER, J. DE CASo (ed.), Félicie de Fauveau, l’amazone de la sculpture, catalogue of the exhibition held in Les Lucs-sur-Boulogne and Paris, 1913, Paris, 2013, p. 327, cat. n. 24.