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By Guillemin, Emile Coriolan Hippolyte (French, 1841-1907)
This superb Orientalist bronze group is by the celebrated sculptor Guillemin and depicts in a distinctively Orientalist manner a moment drawn from the Bible.
This large patinated bronze Orientalist sculpture is by Émile Coriolan Hippolyte Guillemin, an important French sculptor of the Belle Époque. The piece was cast by the bronzier Émile Henri Servant.
The group depicts two figures drawn from the Bible, namely Rebecca and Eliezer, and recounts a passage—with an Orientalist twist—from Genesis 24. In the account, Eliezer, as the servant of Abraham, has travelled to find a bride for Isaac. On reaching his destination, Eliezer devised a test to find the right bride: he waited by a well to see which woman would offer the draw him water. The current bronze depicts the moment as described in Genesis in its conventional manner: Rebecca is offering Eliezer water from a pitcher.
Both figures wear Orientalist garb: Rebecca a dress and sandals, with minute folds of the fabric deftly rendered; Eliezer wears similar clothing, while also bearing a sword. Both figures have wonderfully rendered faces, each the image of calm repose. The figures are set on a plinth-form base, and are fine demonstrations of late nineteenth Century Orientalism applied to Biblical subject matter.
The base is signed ‘É le Guillemin’ for the sculptor, and ‘G. Servant. Bronzier’ for the fondeur.
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