Exceptionally rare and fine, this large Meissen porcelain plaque employs the Trompe L'oeil technique in the manner of Italian Old Masters to create a piece, in the Classical style, that imitates a large marble relief sculpture.
The monochromatic composition features a trio of ladies in Classical drapery placing a statue of Cupid on a pedestal, while a putto carries a basket of flowers in the background to the lower right. The women, barefooted, hair tied up in a Classical Athenian manner, are clothed in billowing drapery that flows with their movement as they place a winged putto statue - evidently a work in marble from the short outcrop behind its lower legs - on a round waist-height pedestal. The pedestal is mounted with garlands and Cupid's quiver and bow, and the background features an overhanging branch clothed in drapery that fades away into the panel.
The work is a fine example of trompe l'oeil - an optical illusion - whereby a painting imitates a three-dimensional form; here, the porcelain imitates marble sculpture carved in low relief. Pieces such as this were popular in the Renaissance, and Andrea Mantegna in particular was an artist known for his beautiful monochromatic paintings imitating Classical artworks, some of which are on display in the National Gallery, London. Works such as this were also a popular feature of palatial settings and Italian country villas, as they acted as a synthesis of decorative and fine arts, and demonstrated a love and appreciation for the art of Classical antiquity.
Signed to the lower right 'A. Peignot,' (the artist at Meissen responsible for this fine piece), it bears the underglaze blue crossed swords mark to the reverse, and comes mounted in a beautiful ornate carved giltwood frame.
Frame: height 60cm, width 55cm, depth 5cm
Plaque: height 45cm, width 40cm