Ponce Jacquio’s (c.1515-70) bronze of a nude pulling a thorn from her foot has been in the same Parisian family for more than five generations.
The sculptor, known as Mâitre Ponce, was born in Rethel c.1515 and died in Paris in 1570. He spent three years in Rome, where he was a member of the Academy of Saint Luke, worked for Cardinal Ricci and is the only French sculptor of the period mentioned by the art historian Vasari (under the name Ponzio).
On his return to France he collaborated with the architect Jacques Androuet du Cerceau, with Germain Pilot and Primaticcio. French commissions included work at Fontainebleau, The Tuileries and on the tombs of François I, Henri II and Catherine de Medici at Saint Denis.
This figure measures 10in (25cm) in height and is dated to the mid 16th century. It is related to the famous antique bronze known as the Spinario now in the Capitoline Museums in Rome and perhaps to the Venus wounded by a thorn painted by Raphael for the bathroom of Cardinal Bibbiena in Rome that was engraved by Marco Dente.
This particular model is attributable to the sculptor via a terracotta owned by another sculptor, François Girardon. It is pictured in an engraving from c.1710 of Girardon’s ‘gallerie’ of artworks where it is described as a modèle de terre cuite de Paul Ponce. That terracotta, itself rediscovered in the 20th century, is now in the Louvre.
The bronze will to be offered for sale at Drouot by the auction firm Beaussant Lefèvre assisted by the experts Jacques Bacot and Hughes de Lencquesaing. It is expected to make around €100,000.