ADAM, Lambert-Sigisbert
(b. 1700, Nancy, d. 1759, Nancy)

Neptune Calming the Waves

Musée du Louvre, Paris

Speedy in execution, imaginative rather than intellectual, Adam had not a wide range of ideas but he was capable of effective, if unoriginal, sculpture. His Neptune Calming the Waves reveals his ability and his limitations. Back in Paris from Rome in 1733, he completed a model the following year and the piece itself in 1737. Its debt to Bernini needs no emphasizing; nor does the piece, for all its bravura, survive too close a scrutiny of its movement and anatomy. But it has a compensating largeness of effect, despite its small scale, and a welcome vigour. It is a piece of illusionism, with its dramatic movement - Neptune advancing forward to quell the waves, instead of being balanced in the equilibrium Bernini had devised - and its bold flying swag of drapery which emphasises the action.

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