David Vainqueur – Mercié, Marius Jean Antonin (c.1845-1916)

This exquisite bronze sculpture, a testament to the artistic brilliance of Antonin Mercié, captures the essence of triumph and heroism embodied by the biblical hero David. With his foot firmly planted on Goliath’s severed head and his sword sheathed, David’s unwavering determination radiates from his focused gaze. Mercié’s masterpiece not only honors a timeless tale but also pays homage to the Florentine Renaissance, drawing inspiration from luminaries like Raphael and Verrocchio. The sculpture’s fluid lines and graceful curves bear witness to Mercié’s mastery and innovation, earning him the revered title of ‘Neo-Florentine’ among his peers.

What makes this sculpture truly invaluable is its historical journey and impact. Antonin Mercié’s original plaster model, born in the heart of Rome in 1872, instantly captured the imagination of the art world. Its debut at the prestigious Paris Salon of 1872 earned it a First-Class medal and bestowed upon Mercié the Legion of Honour, a testament to its significance. The State’s commission for a bronze version marked a pivotal moment in its history, and when the bronze edition was publicly exhibited in 1874, it became a sensation.

Beyond its artistic prowess, this sculpture carries a profound political symbolism that resonates with the spirit of resilience and determination. In the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, it symbolized France’s unwavering spirit, akin to David’s victory over Goliath, as it sought to overcome adversity. Furthermore, Ferdinand Barbedienne, a renowned bronze founder, recognized the sculpture’s significance, casting miniature versions in six different sizes, ensuring that its impact would reach far and wide.

In essence, this bronze masterpiece embodies not just artistic brilliance but also the resilience of the human spirit and the enduring power of symbolism. Its value transcends mere aesthetics; it serves as a reminder of the timeless stories that unite us all and the indomitable spirit that defines us as individuals and nations.

The sculpture’s graceful curves and fluid motion reflect the influence of these masters, earning Mercié the label of ‘Neo-Florentine’ from his contemporaries.

Notably, the turban adorning David’s head hints at the prevailing Orientalism trend in French art circles at the time.

Antonin Mercié’s original plaster model of this sculpture, created in Rome in 1872, achieved great acclaim. Displayed at the Paris Salon of 1872, it won a First-Class medal, the Legion of Honour for Mercié, and a commission from the State for a bronze version.

The bronze edition, publicly exhibited in 1874, became immensely popular, partly owing to its political symbolism. France, still recovering from the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, saw in David’s victory over Goliath a metaphor for its own aspirations against the Prussian adversary.

Ferdinand Barbedienne, a prominent bronze founder of the era, cast miniature versions of Mercié’s masterpiece in six different sizes.

R287,500.00 R250,000.00 (ex VAT)

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SKU: MJA01 Category:

Additional information

Weight 9 kg
Size 15 × 51 cm