A Bouchardon drawing with a noble pedigree
At the 1737 Salon, Edme Bouchardon presented a drawing called Fêtes de Palès (Horvitz collection, Boston). This red chalk work formerly in the Sir Wind collection, which was sold at Sotheby’s in London in 1839, was the first study.
The art critic and engraver Charles-Nicolas Cochin called Edme Bouchardon "the greatest sculptor and the best illustrator his century”. In 1722 he won the Prix de Rome, allowing him to spend nine years in Italy to study ancient art, which influenced him throughout his exemplary career. Back in France, in his Louvre studio he made some of the most beautiful neoclassical sculptures, including the fountain on rue de Grenelle, Paris, and the statue, Amour se faisant un arc avec la massue d’Hercule (Cupid Making a Bow with the Mace of Hercules), now in the Louvre. Ancient Rome honoured Pales, the goddess of flocks, with festivals on 21 April, the anniversary of the city’s founding. During the festivals, houses, stables and animals were purified with a sacred mixture and lustral water. A sacrifice and a feast followed.