Dancing Bacchante with Cupid, Claude Michel, called Clodion

Claude Michel, called Clodion (French, 1738– 1814) Dancing Bacchante with Cupid, 1785 Terracotta Purchase, Academy Volunteers Fund, 1981 (4944.1) Clodion is best known for small-scale terracotta sculptures like this one. Notably, his career survived the drastic shift in styles from the playful Rococo to the relatively staid Neoclassical during the latter 18th century. Indeed, while the subject matter of this work— a beautiful and intoxicated female follower of Bacchus, the god of wine, violently entangled with the god of erotic love—is solidly rooted in antiquity, its amorous undertones and dynamic sculptural composition demonstrate the influence of the Rococo. Clodion preferred to work for private clients rather than undertake public commissions (of which only a few survive), and works like Dancing Bacchante with Cupid would have decorated the homes of European aristocracy.