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Diana

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Josuë Dupon
Ichtegem 1864 – Berchem 1935
Ivory and bronze
92x25 cm
Inventory number 1263

The late 19th-century sculptor Josuë Dupon is known primarily for his monumental animal sculptures, like those adorning the entrance to Antwerp Zoo. His work exudes a sense of strength, dynamism and realism. But as this statuette illustrates, there is also a more delicate side to Dupon. The figure represents Diana, the goddess of the hunt, clearly recognisable by her attributes of bow and quiver. She is standing on the skull of an elk, between its antlers. The combination of different precious materials gives the sculpture a singular, sophisticated feel. The soft, almost translucent ivory emphasises the elegantly tensed posture of the female figure. The bronze veil, which reveals rather than conceals her nude body, and the gilded bow accentuate the flowing upward line. The curves and undulations of the figure are, moreover, neatly echoed in the round marble base.

Ivory from the Congo

This figurine is a wonderful example of chryselephantine sculpting, in which ivory and precious metals are combined. The growing interest in ivory art in the late 19th century was linked with the large quantities of ivory that were imported from the Congo Free State. In 1893, the then state secretary Edmond Van Eetvelde actually called on sculptors to use ivory. Today, ivory trading is obviously banned by law.

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