Artwork of the Week: August 29

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Workshop of Henry Augsute, silversmith (French, 1759–1815); Jean-Guillaume Moitte, designer (French, 1746–1810), Casket with Figure of Morpheus, silver, cast, chased, gilt, about , 1793–98. H. 8 5/8 in., L. 12 ¾ in. Purchased with funds from the Florence Scott Libbey Bequest in Memory of her Father, Maurice A. Scott. Gallery 23A

Workshop of Henry Augsute, silversmith (French, 1759–1815); Jean-Guillaume Moitte, designer (French, 176–1810), Casket with Figure of Morpheus, silver, cast, chased, gilt, about , 1793–98. H. 8 5/8 in., L. 12 ¾ in. Purchased with funds from the Florence Scott Libbey Bequest in Memory of her Father, Maurice A. Scott, 1969.301 Gallery 23A

The design for this sumptuous silver-gilt jewel casket was created by Jean-Guillaume Moitte, the leading sculptor at the court of Napoleon. It was executed by the royal goldsmith Henry Auguste and is considered today the most ambitious sculptural project by his workshop. On the hinged lid that is shaped like an open book reclines Morpheus, the Greco-Roman god of dreams. The figure’s pose with one arm raised above the head is a visual device employed by ancient sculptors to indicate sleep.


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