Louis Ardisson (French, 18601890)
Venus and Vulcan, 1878
Carved wood relief, 20 1/2 x 16 3/16 x 3 1/4 in.

The Abduction of Europa and Venus and Vulcan, two exquisitely carved wooden bas-reliefs in a Rococo style, represent the mythological themes of Venus seeking arms from Vulcan for her son Aeneas, and of Europa’s abduction by Zeus. The first relief was exhibited at the 1878 Universal Exposition, at which Ardisson received a bronze medal. He is known to have made carvings after works by such 18th-century painters as François Boucher (17031770) and Jean-Honoré Fragonard (17321806), usually depicting amorous mythological scenes. Venus and Vulcan is directly modeled after Boucher’s enormous painting Venus at Vulcan’s Forge (1757, Musée du Louvre, Paris), while The Abduction of Europa is based on a painting (1750, Dallas Museum of Art) by Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre (17141789).

Published in: Roger Diederen, Telling Tales I. Classical Images from the Dahesh Museum of Art(New York, 2001)