The putti on the bentside and lockboard
|Sharpening up||Target pra...||Bentside m...||Victim_hom...||Victim_hom...||Lockboard_...|
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The outside of the cheek, bentside and tail are decorated with paintings of putti or cupids engaged in various amorous pursuits which, collectively, might be called The Triumph of Love. Here they can be seen sharpening their arrows in preparation for shooting some hapless victim and sending him or her into swoons of ardent desire. Other scenes show similar figures engaged, firstly, in target practice and, finally, returning from the hunt with the triumphant suitor pulled along in a chariot.
The painting has been done in oil, and is painted on a ground of thick gold leaf. This type of decoration was known in the eighteenth-century as ‘vernis martin’ after the Martin brothers who invented and developed this luxurious type of furniture decoration.
The painting of the putti must date to 1750 when the instrument was widened on the bass side and the major decorative and musical ravalement of the instrument happened. It seems highly likely from the style of the painting and the style of the decorations that it all happened at the same time except, perhaps for the painting of the reclining nude on the top of the lid.
The painting of the putti may also be by François Boucher, Paris, 1750, with the surrounding decorations attributed to Christophe Huet, Paris, 1750.
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