This bronze ewer by Henry de Triqueti, a rare and refined artist, is a masterpiece of French Romantic sculpture. Commissioned by the statesman and historian Adolphe Thiers, then a government minister of King Louis-Philippe, it may have been intended to serve as a present.
The iconography of the piece celebrates some of the main mother figures of the Jewish people as described in the Bible. On the handle, the mother of Moses places her child in the Nile. On the belly, Rachel embraces her two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. The sides depict two of Abraham’s companions: his wife, Sarah, embraces their son, Isaac, after he is saved from being sacrificed; and Sarah’s handmaiden, Hagar, and her son, Ishmael, are rescued by the Angel in the desert. Further down is a bas-relief illustrating the Massacre of the Innocents.
Triqueti developed a style that was heavily influenced by the Italian Renaissance to make a characteristically Romantic blend of sculpture and the decorative arts.