A clock inspired to the myth of Cupid and Psyche
On the large surface above the clock dial, it takes up a realistic morning toilet scene, according to France’s early 19th century fashion. A lady with period clothes adorning herself in front of a large vertical psyche mirror with two fine columns to support it, on top of a heart pierced by two arrows.
Next to the Psyche, we find furniture in rigorous neoclassical style, starting with the gueridon with on top a vessel and some furnishings for morning ablutions is placed, while on the left side an Athénienne decorated with bucrania.
The clock base is adorned with gilt bronze applications depicting flying cupids; the one on the left, inside a scroll, bears the initials A.R., which stand for the famous bronze artist Antoine Ravrio.
The clock is supported on a Verde Antico marble base with four feet in the shape of gryphons, a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head of an eagle, sacred to Apollo and guardians of his treasures.
Movement: anchor escapement and countwheel strike on bell.
The starting iconography seems to be a Pompeian fresco in the house of Marco Lucretius Fronto, which depicts the Toilet of Venus. This subject that interested Raphael at the time of the paintings in the Loggia of Cupid and Psyche at the Villa Farnesina.
André-Antoine Ravrio (1759-1814) was one of the most significant French bronzers, son of art; he was born in Paris in a family of bronzier-doreur, which boasted a long tradition in the sector, the origins date back to the second half of the seventeenth century. His maternal grandfather was the authoritative ébéniste François Vandercruse whose son, (Ravrio’s uncle) was Roger Vandercruse (1728-1799), known as Lacroix. Further, Ravrio’s mother was the sister-in-law of the royal ébéniste, Jean-Henri Riesener.
Although Ravrio was successful during the reign of Louis XVI, he achieved fame under Napoleon Bonaparte. With the coronation of Napoleon as emperor of the French, Ravrio also worked for the Court carrying out works for Saint-Cloud, Fontainebleau, Compiègne and Rambouillet, both as a doreur – argenteus.
In 1806 he supplied some bronze furnishings for the apartments of Empress Joséphine in the Tuileries, and in the same year, he won a silver medal at the first Exposition de l’Industrie. In 1810 he was appointed bronzier to the emperor.
Ravrio also worked in Italy for the Quirinale in Rome (official residences of the President of the Italian Republic) and at the Savoy Residence for the Hunt in Stupinigi and Holland for King Louis.
Ravrio was a bronze artist, an accomplished entrepreneur, and a cultured person; he owned a vast library of classical literature from which he took inspiration.
In the painting department of the Louvre, there is a portrait of Ravrio sitting at a desk with books and drawings resting on it, holding a bronze statue in his hand, a patinated and gilded vase in the background. The image evokes a rich and cultured man of his time.
The artworks created by Ravrio are present in numerous museum collections and noble palaces; collectors highly seek them.