“Mars” Candelabra, France, First Empire (1804-1814)

“Mars” Candelabra, France, First Empire (1804-1814)

Patinated bronze, gilt bronze
Bequest of Maurice Darlu, 1929
Inv. 27446 B
© Les Arts Décoratifs / photo: Jean Tholance

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The taste for luxury is also apparent in the design of ornamental items such as clocks, chandeliers, wall lights and candelabra. These black-patinated bronze figures of Mars and Venus, on altar-shaped bases, hold gilt candelabra.

Bronze and carved wood decoration on furniture reflects the same taste, with shiny or (more often) matte gilding and intricate chasing. Marquetry, which had the added drawback of being very expensive, had fallen from favor, so these new ornamental elements played a particularly important role, embellishing large mahogany surfaces and conveying a messge through figures and symbols. These decorative bronze mounts are of almost infinite variety: military items such as swords and helmets, winged figures, figures from Greco-Roman mythology, lions, dolphins, swans, and bees (symbols of the Empire).

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