COUSTOU, Guillaume I
(b. 1677, Lyon, d. 1746, Paris)

Marie Leczinska as Juno

Musée du Louvre, Paris

This full-length statue of the young Marie Leczinska as Juno was begun in 1726 and finally paid for in 1733 (signed and dated on its pedestal 1731). It has a pendant representing Louis XV. The statue can be compared with Coysevox's Duchesse de Bourgogne as Diana, and it is obviously inspired by the earlier statue. But it is in many ways a less Rococo piece of work, more solidly handled, more compact in its design, and more static in pose. Despite the squeezed-out clouds - like thick paint pressed from a tube and overflowing the pedestal — the figure is less airborne than Coysevox's breathless, hastening, graceful woman.

Marie Leczinska (1703-1768) was born at Breslau on the 23rd of June 1703, being the daughter of Stanislas Leszczynski (who in 1704 became king of Poland) and of Catherine Opalinska. She was betrothed to Louis XV, a step which was the outcome of the jealousies of the houses of Conde and Orleans, and was everywhere regarded as a mesalliance for the French king. The marriage took place at Fontainebleau on the 5th of September 1725.