CAFFIÉRI, Jean-Jacques
(b. 1725, Paris, d. 1792, Paris)

Madame du Barry

Marble, height 67 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Caffiéri's finest work was produced for the world of the theatre; his busts are portraits conceived very much as 'characters', and this sense is enhanced by the virtuoso details of costume. Madame du Barry fits into this atmosphere well enough. Caffiéri's marble bust of her is almost the rendering of an actress posing as a courtesan: her breasts pointing through the silky, lace-bordered, slipping drapery, and a garland of roses cascading over her shoulder. The handling of the lace is brilliant.