CLODION, Claude MICHEL, called

Nancy, Meurthe-et-Moselle 1738 - Paris 1814

Urne monumentale

Monumental Urn



type: other

Dimensions (HxWxD): 51 1516 x 38 316 in.

Acc. No.: 1940.2.3

Credit Line: Andrew W. Mellon Collection

Photo credit: Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

© Artist:


  • near Florence, Anatoly Nikolaievich Demidov, prince of San Donato (1812-1870)
  • near Florence, Paul Pavlovich Demidov, prince of San Donato (1839-1885)
  • 1880, March, Demidov sale, at their residence, San Donato, n. 106-107)*
  • Paris, purchased by Mme Isaac Pereire
  • 1937, 4 June, Paris, Isaac Pereire sale, Galerie Jean Charpentier, n. 89-90 (Goldschmidt, London)
  • by August 1937, Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris
  • Pittsburgh, by exchange to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust
  • 1940, Washington, gift to National Gallery of Art


  • Museum's website, 20 July 2011
  • 1941 NGA Washington
    Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1941, p. 220
  • 1942 NGA Washington
    Book of Illustrations, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942, p. 254, repr. p. 219
  • 1949 NGA Washington
    Paintings and Sculpture from the Mellon Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1949 (reprinted 1953 and 1958), p. 173, repr.
  • 1949 Seymour
    Charles Seymour, Masterpieces of Sculpture from the National Gallery of Art, Washington and New York, 1949, p. 183, note 51, repr. p. 158-159
  • 1965 NGA Washington
    Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965, p. 148
  • 1968 NGA Washington
    European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968, p. 131, repr.
  • 1994 NGA Washington
    Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1994, p. 46, repr.

Related works

  • See also its pendant, Monumenta Urn, marble, 1782, 1940.2.2, in the same museum.


  • Museum's website, 20 July 2011:
    Clodion is best known today and was most celebrated in the eighteenth century for works of vivacity and charm. The relief panels decorating these urns, one of which is illustrated here, are typical of his engaging subjects: satyr families tussle and frolic in bucolic settings, playing music, and riding seesaws. The scenes on the urns include some of Clodion's most popular vignettes, which he copied many times in terracotta (including a plaque often on view in the downstairs sculpture galleries) and other media, and which are even found as gilded decorations on furniture. Clodion had an active workshop and was so busy that he failed even to complete the masterpiece for his admission to the French Academy. Probably the urns were carved not by Clodion himself, but by workshop assistants following terracotta models provided by the master, a common procedure in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
    One of Clodion's most beautiful carvings, a Vestal Virgin made for the Russian empress Catherine the Great, can be seen in the ground-floor galleries. This solemn and heavily draped figure contrasts with the playfully sensuous figure style on these urns.