A study about Pierre Puget

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The last expertise of Neri&Gonella is the study of a Pierre Puget Saturn statue.


The association of Chronos/Saturn with Time was reintroduced by the Platonic Academy of Florence, founded in 1462, and, in terms of artistic works, began to be symbolised by a new attribute, namely wings. However, such a representation does not seem to have been welcomed soon after this date, since one cannot really find good parallels until the seventeenth century. Moreover, non-clear comparisons come from Italy, although some Italian artists or schools may have influenced the sculptor of this statue as its expression and the execution of its facial features may recall works by Alessandro Vittoria (Saint Jerome, c. 1565) or Bernini himself (i.e., David, 1623-24). Either direct or indirect, an influence of this kind can actually be assumed in general terms, especially for a time when a stay in Italy was almost the rule for several European artists.

Versailles was no exception; however, it is the very French context of the late seventeenth century that offers the best examples for the statue here concerned, according to subject and/or characteristics of execution. Whereas at least one of the captives, in the monument of the “Four Defeated Nations” made by Martin Dejardins (1682-85), can only resemble the expression and features of our Chronos, closer comparisons come, among others, from Francois Girardon ́s Saturn in the Fountain of Winter (1672-77) and, above all, from Pierre Puget (in spite of different subjects). As a whole, the works of the latter sculptor display several characteristics that are also found in this winged Chronos (see, for example, his Milo of Croton, 1671-82); specifically, about the technical execution, the similar twisting of the body has to be emphasised, that is, a real and beloved leitmotif in the works of the “French Bernini”.

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