The J. Paul Getty Museum

Saturn Devouring One of His Children

Object Details

Title:

Saturn Devouring One of His Children

Artist/Maker:

Simon Hurtrelle (French, 1648 - 1724)

Culture:

French

Place:

Paris, France; France (Place Created)

Date:

about 1700

Medium:

Bronze

Object Number:

85.SB.126

Dimensions:

65.4 × 26.7 × 25.1 cm (25 3/4 × 10 1/2 × 9 7/8 in.)

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Object Description

Saturn, one of the Titans who once ruled earth in Roman mythology, devours the infant child he holds in his arm. According to a prophecy, Saturn would be overthrown by one of his sons. In response, he ate his sons as soon as they were born. But the mother of his children, Rhea, hid one child, Zeus. Later, Zeus gave his father a potion, forcing him to regurgitate his siblings; he then vanquished his father and ruled over earth, fulfilling the prophecy. Saturn's cannibalism is graphically shown here: in his left hand he holds a bone from one of his already eaten children while he partially ingests the child in his arm.

Simon Hurtrelle represented Saturn as a powerful, yet elderly figure with wings. The wings suggest the speed of time and derive from the association of Saturn, also known as Cronos, with the Greek god of time, Chronus. Similarly, Saturn's loss of hair indicates the passing of time. The composition of the bronze was inspired by an antique Roman marble sculpture that Hurtrelle saw in Rome.

Provenance
Provenance
Before 1984

John Lewis, English, (London, England)

1984 - 1985

Heim Gallery (London) (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1985.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Paintings and Sculpture of Three Centuries: Autumn Exhibition (November 15 to December 21, 1984)
  • Heim Gallery (London), November 15 to December 21, 1984
Cast in Bronze: French Sculpture from Renaissance to Revolution (October 24, 2008 to September 27, 2009)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), February 24 to May 24, 2009
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 30 to September 27, 2009
Paris: Life & Luxury (April 26, 2011 to January 2, 2012)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), April 26 to August 7, 2011
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, September 18, 2011 to January 2, 2012
Bibliography
Bibliography

Paintings and Sculpture of Three Centuries. Autumn Exhibition, exh. cat. (London, Heim Gallery, 1984), no. 23, ill.

"Acquisitions/1985." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 14 (1986), p. 256, no. 228.

Souchal, François, with Françoise de La Moureyre and Henriette Dumuis, eds. French Sculptors of the 17th and 18th centuries. The Reign of Louis XIV. 4 vols. (1977-1993), vol. IV, Supplementary Volume A-Z (London and Boston: Faber and Faber, 1993), pp. 125-126, no. 27, ill.

Fusco, Peter. Summary Catalogue of European Sculpture in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 30, ill.

Caubet, Annie, Patrick Pouysségur, and Louis-Antoine Prat eds. L'Empire du temps. mythes et créations, exh. cat. (Paris: Musée du Louvre, with Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 2000), p. 161, no. 157, entry by Louis-Antoine Prat.

Gaborit, Jean-René ed. Musée du Louvre. Nouvelles acquisitions du département des sculptures 1996-2001 (Paris: Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 2002), pp. 39-40, fig. 16a, entry by Geneviève Bresc-Bautier.

Bresc-Bautier, Geneviève, and Guilhem Scherf, eds. Bronzes français de la Renaissance au Siècle des lumières, exh. cat. (Paris, Musée du Louvre, with Somogy, 2009), pp. 290-293, no. 79B, ill., entry by Françoise de La Moureyre.

Bresc-Bautier, Geneviève, and Guilhem Scherf, with James David Draper, eds. Cast in Bronze. French Sculpture from Renaissance to Revolution, exh. cat. (New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with Somogy, 2009), pp. 290-93, no. 79B, ill., entry by Françoise de La Moureyre.

Bremer-David, Charissa, ed. Paris: Life & Luxury in the Eighteenth Century, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011), p. 128, no. 71, ill..

Bialonowska, Magdalena. Andrzej Stanislaw Ciechanowiecki. Kolekcjoner, marszand i mecenas (Lublin: Towarzystwo Naukowe KUL, 2012), pp. 163, 176, fig. 178.