: before 1900
Cupid Feeding Pigeons
Lithograph. 370 x 263 mm
Works, relating to this work: Luigi Bienaimé, Cupid Feeding Pigeons, 1821, original plaster model, Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara, ItalyEnlarge photo
Luigi Bienaimé (1795-1878) began working in Thorvaldsen’s studio in Rome in 1818. Throughout his life, Bienaimé had quite literally had marble dust beneath his feet. He had grown up in what was the city of marble par excellence – Carrara. In the days of Michelangelo (1475-1564) and of Bienaimé and Thorvaldsen, marble of the finest quality was taken from quarries in Carrara, as it still is today – marble that is suitable for sculpting. The sculptures were sometimes carved in Carrara itself. On other occasions, the blocks of marble were transported to workshops in Rome to be carved there.
In Rome, Bienaimé was one of the sculptors who assisted Thorvaldsen to carve his plaster models in marble when commissions arrived. Bienaimé, however, also worked on sculptures that he himself had been commissioned to make. And the chubby, winged figure of Cupid feeding pigeons was modelled in plaster by Bienaimé in 1821. It is a slightly sentimental account, and in this it differs from Thorvaldsen’s more classical figures. Bienaimé’s Cupid is known today in three replicas, one of which is in the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.