ADAM, Nicolas-Sébastien
(b. 1705, Nancy, d. 1778, Paris)

Monumental vase on the theme of autumn

Marble, height 177 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel designed four vases, two representing spring and two autumn, for Louis XV's Château at Choisy, near Sceaux. The sculptors Jean-Baptiste Pigalle and Nicolas-Sébastien Adam each carved one on the theme of autumn (now both in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), and the Flemish-born sculptor Jacques Verberckt (1704-1771) carved the pair dedicated to spring (now in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, and in the Château de Malmaison).

Like many garden ornaments of the period of Louis XIV and Louis XV, the vases are indebted to ancient precedent. The kalyx-krater form, based on an ancient Greek vase type, with fluted base and handles springing from satyrs' heads, became a paradigm for Baroque and Rococo garden ornaments.