A very fine late 19th Century French bronze bust of an attractive classical maiden modelled in the Art Nouveau style, with fabulous multi hued patination of brown and a subtle green, accentuating the excellent hand finished detail. Signed E Villanis, with Societe des Bronzes foundry seal, numbered and with raised title to the fore.
Height: 28 cm
Width: 16 cm
Depth: 10 cm
Condition: Excellent Original Condition
Book Ref: Emmanuel Villanis by Josje Hortulanus-de Mik
Page No: 79
Sylvia Ballet - Silvia
Sylvia, (the spelling is different in french) is a classical ballet. It features a nondescript mythical setting and a late nineteenth-century score, in which it's themes correlate to giving it a more classical feel, however, it was quite revolutionary for its time. The score was and still is recognized for its greatness. Delibes' work is certainly the best appreciated aspect of the ballet for its innovation, creativity, and maturity. Frederick Ashton's choreography complements the music very well in this respect, staying true to the spirit of the original production while incorporating modern techniques and adding his own unique touch.
The ballet itself follows Sylvia who is a loyal follower of Diana (the goddess of the hunting and chassitity). The story starts with Sylvia being stalked by the diety Eros. When she discovers this they fire their bows at each other respectively. However only Eros's shot is true and wounds Sylvia. This is where she is kidnapped by an unknown assailant later revealed to be Orion.
Sylvia escapes the caves of Orion by getting her captor intoxicated and pleading to Eros to rescue her. When he begrudgingly rescues her he takes her to the temple of Diana where her love awaits. This leads her to repeal her oath of Chassity taken as a follower of Diana.
Emmanuel Villanis was an industrious man. He is believed to have created some 200 to 250 pieces. His oeuvre pre-eminently consisted of busts and full body statues. Most of these were manufactured in bronze, but there are also models in white metal and terra cotta. Different patinas were used. The bronzes were mainly cast by the Societé de Bronzes de Paris and can be recognised by the round stamp (cachet) at the back of the statue. In addition, reliefs, vases, lamps, clocks and ink stands are recorded . Vases and lamps were mostly made of tin, and there are also marble statues. Pieces in which ivory is used are as rare as silver statues.
Villanis was inspired by women. He dedicated almost his complete works to them. One model in particular was portrayed many times by him. His portrayals of children may be less known, but are nevertheless wonderfully done. His statues are always in perfect proportion and are full of expression: dreamy-eyed, happy, sirene, indifferent, cheeky, serious, sad, detached, melancholy.
His style can always be recognised by his use of hollowed out eyeballs. The name of the statue can usually be found on the base in scrolled script and the signature of Emmanuel Villanis is always visible and legible.
To view more sculptures by Emmanuel Villanis please click here.