River God by Jean-Jacques Caffieri

This sculpture is a demonstration of supreme virtuosity in 'thinking in terracotta', the method he had inherited from Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne.


23 x 37 x 13 cm
Art Fund grant:
£21,500 ( Total: £86,000)
Acquired in:
Daniel Katz Ltd

It is a seriously classical subject, and although its brilliant naturalism and compressed energy hark back to baroque models, Caffieri's terracotta is a contained, closed composition in contrast to the loose expansiveness of Lemoyne's Oceanus. The vase, from which the river water flows, with its neat frieze of shells, is a crisp piece of neo-classical design. Caffieri seems simultaneously to be declaring himself a virtuoso in the French terracotta tradition he had inherited, and asserting his mastery of the new neo-classical mode, of which the Academie de France in Rome had been the seedbed.


Private Collection, France; Daniel Katz Ltd.

Venue details

Fitzwilliam Museum Trumpington Street, CAMBRIDGE Cambridgeshire CB2 1RB 01223 332900 www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

Entry details

Free to all

Tue – Sat, 10am – 5pm Sun & Bank Holidays 12noon – 5pm Closed Mon, 24 – 26, 31 Dec and 1 Jan