Carved Relief

Object Details


Carved Relief


Aubert-Henri-Joseph Parent (French, 1753 - 1835)




Paris, France (Place created)






69.5 x 47.9 x 6 cm (27 3/8 x 18 7/8 x 2 3/8 in.)

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This virtuoso carving, produced from a single plank of limewood, demonstrates the accomplished skills of its maker, Aubert Parent, who came to prominence in 1777 when one of his panels was accepted as a gift by Louis XVI, king of France. The relief shows a vase of flowers, including poppies, roses, lilac, lilies-of-the-valley, and daisies, on a plinth. Parent used various levels of carving to make the design seem more lifelike. For example, the flattened "carved" acanthus leaves on the vase contrast sharply with the "real" leaves of the roses and grapevine surrounding it. Parent once noted that the delicate lilac blossoms in particular were extremely difficult to carve, as they had to be worked from both above and below without breakage.

The lower part of the scene--a pair of birds defending their nest from a grass snake and a slug--alludes to parental responsibility and, indirectly, to the duty of the French monarchy toward its subjects at the beginning of the French Revolution.

Casting Nature: François-Thomas Germain's Machine d'Argent (July 11, 2006 to March 25, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 11, 2006 to March 25, 2007
Significant Objects: The Spell of Still Life (July 19, 2012 to January 22, 2013)
  • Norton Simon Museum, (Pasadena), July 19, 2012 to January 22, 2013
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