Lot 310
att. Émile Louis Picault (French, 1833-1915), A Large Bronze of an Egyptian King
Lot Details & Additional Photographs
19th century, unmarked, mounted to a rouge marble plinth.

Bronze only 36.25 in.

Émile Louis Picault studied with the renowned Dutch sculptor, Louis Royer. Picault first emulated the Classicism perfected by Royer, but found his greatest success embracing the exoticism of Egyptomania fascinating Europe following Napoleon's Egyptian Campaign. He exhibited work frequently at the Paris Salons between 1863 and 1909.

The present bronze, while unsigned, is in the style and quality of Picault's greatest Egyptian works. The figure is posed in a stance of action. His clothing is enveloped in symbolism, beginning with a lion skin atop his head, to a winged sun on his breast plate, and a lion cloth decorated with Ankhs and cartouche with fantasy hieroglyphics. The sculpture presented here relates most directly to Picault's sculpture of King Menthuophis, circa 1880.

This may also be a romanticized depiction of Alexander the Great as pharaoh of Egypt. Alexander, who was often compared to Herakles during his lifetime, issued coins showing the storied demigod wearing the skin of the Nemean lion as a headdress. Some scholars suggest the coin portrait is actually that of Alexander himself. With the Macedonian conquest of Egypt in 331 BC, the resulting blending of Greek and Egyptian cultures would have been a welcomed pairing for a 19th century French sculptor and audience.

Some minor scratching to bronze; some chipping and loss to marble.

$4,000 - 6,000