Allegory of a river
Modeled for an amateur, this terracotta statuette represents an allegory of God-River. Naked and bearded like an ancient god, this middle-aged man, whose muscles are heroic, presents an amphora from which water constantly escapes. With his left hand, he holds a rudder in the middle of reeds, a pretty iconographic suggestion indicating that it symbolizes a waterway rather than an ocean.
From the second half of the eighteenth century, led by the artistic upheaval born of the discovery of Herculaneum and Pompeii, the first neoclassicism is a treat of river allegories. These powerful masculine figures are used with great pleasure by sculptors to decorate public monuments, fountains and pediments, as well as to model small statuettes for cultivated amateurs. These statuettes are for the sculptors the opportunity to express their bravery and their talent and to measure themselves with the yardstick of the ancient masters or, in the case of our statuette, the great masters of the sixteenth century.