CLÈVE, Corneille van
(b. 1646, Paris, d. 1732, Paris)

Bacchus and Ariadne

Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco

Although involved in several large-scale commissions, Van Clève was probably at his best in more intimate work. A relaxed aspect of his art is seen in his sculptures of children. The original of his bronze group of Bacchus and Ariadne, shown at the Salon of 1704, appears untraced, though at least one copy survives, shown in the picture. Grace and urgency combine in this skilfully composed group, where the god gesticulates in a swirl of drapery as he assures the girl of immortality, and as the group is surveyed from the back Cupid is unexpectedly disclosed, lying concealed behind the lovers.