COUSTOU, Nicolas
(b. 1658, Lyon, d. 1733, Paris)

Pediment of the Custom House

c. 1726
Hôtel des Douanes, Rouen

Mercury presides over a lively bas-relief where shipping and trade take on memorable images: the nervously handled figure of the naked seaman with a corded bale, the alert scribbling putto at the far left, and the vivid dog crouched at the right - one of Nicolas Coustou's liveliest animals. At the same time all is carefully planned to fill the difficult triangular space, and the final impression is one of the seated central god, dominating as symbol and as sculpture.

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