After the original marble grouping entitled Amalthée et la chèvre de Jupiter (“Amalthea and Jupiter’s Goat”) by Pierre Julien, which was commissioned by King Louis XVI in 1787, this life sized garden statue was cast in France. As is the case with most mythological legends, there are variations to the story, but the core is always consistent: the god, Zeus, was raised in a cave on Crete by a nymph and a magical goat whose horns produced nectar and ambrosia. In some instances, the goat’s name is Amalthea (with the nymph’s name being Adamanthea), while in other iterations, the nymph is named Amalthea and the goat is unnamed. Based on the title of Julien’s original sculpture, the later interpretation was used.
In our statue, which has been given a lovely cream patina, Amalthea can be seen sitting on an angular rock covered with a neatly folded linen. Amalthea clutches some of the fabric in her left hand, trying to cover her nude body. Julien based her pose off another mythological sculpture, the lost 3rd- or 2nd-century BCE Capitoline Venus. In Amalthea’s right hand is the tail end of a tether which is wrapped around the goat’s horns. The detail of the statue is exceptional, from the bunched sections of the linen to the waves in the goat’s fur, making it perfect for a garden setting or indoor atrium.
Louis XVI purchased a vast estate known as Rambouillet in 1783, which included a fortified manor built in 1368. To appease his queen, Marie Antoinette (who famously called the new acquisition a “Gothic toad”), Louis built a vast chateau, complete with a new building, Laiterie de la Reine (Queen’s Dairy), which resembled an ancient Greek temple. The two room complex had a lounge area known as la salle de fraîcheur (Cool Room), which featured a faux grotto surrounding the original Julien sculpture that sat atop a pool.
CONDITION: Good condition with light buildup and minor rubs, losses and color variation. Fleabites to some areas as a byproduct of the casting process.