Supposed Portrait of Prince Philippe d’Orleans, Comte de Paris, 1852
White marble, H. 0.52 m
Hauteur : 0,52 m (with the base). Base: height 0,12 m, diameter 0,23 m.
Signed on the base: DANTAN fe 1852.
Provenance: Private collection.
Antoine Laurent Dantan, called Dantan l’aîné, learned the technique of sculpture with his father, a wood sculptor. He is the older brother of Pierre Dantan (1800-1869), a sculptor of caricature subjects. In 1816, he entered the Paris Ecole des Beaux-Arts, where he was a pupil of François Joseph Bosio (1768-1845) and Pierre-Gaston Brion (1767-1855). After winning the Second Grand Prize in Sculpture in 1823 with “The Agony of Evander over the Body of his Son, Pallas”, he won the First Rome Prize in 1828 with the plaster sculpture “The Death of Hercules on Mount Oeta”. He was a pensionnaire at the Villa Medici in Rome from 1829 to 1833. In 1819, he exhibited at the Paris Salon for the first time. Noticed for the purity of his style, he won a first class medal in 1835 and was awarded the Legion of Honour in 1843.
An academic sculptor, less well known than his younger brother with whom he is sometimes confused, Dantan l’aîné made sculptures for the Louvre Palace, the Hôtel de Ville, Parisian churches (La Madeleine, Saint Gervais, Saint-Laurent and La Villette), in addition to the Tour Saint Jacques and the tower of Saint Germain l’Auxerrois. He received many commissions for sculptures of famous men, including contemporaries.
Prince Philippe d’Orléans, Comte de Paris (Louis-Philippe Albert 1838-1894) was the grand-son of Louis-Philippe, King of the French. He was the presumptive heir to the throne after his father, Prince Ferdinand-Philippe died as a result of an accident in 1842. When his grandfather abdicated during the revolution of 1848, he was ten years old. Too young to represent stability and reassure the opponents of Louis-Philippe’s policies, his family was not able to have him proclaimed king of the French. The Second Republic sent him into exile.
The official pretender to the throne of France on his grandfather’s death, it is as such that he is portrayed here by Dantan, while he was in exile in England.