French "Inutilisable" School c.1750
80 cm ~ Gilded bronze
The Inutilisable School of French art was dedicated to the production of ornate rococo pieces that, for all their complexity, are more existential than purposeful.
This piece may have been the work of Marcel Silhouette-Mannequin, who also produced "Kind of a Thing" ("Espece d'une Chose") and "Something, Perhaps," ("Quelquechose, Peut-etre") both of which are presently in the uncategorized section of the Louvre sub-basement next to the laundry room ("Chambre de Blanchissage"). This particular work has been described by some critics as "a bedstead humping a baptismal font."
Although an extremely talented worker, Silhouette-Mannequin had a difficult time bringing his visions to fruition, possibly because of a bullet in the brain he received during the War of the Austrian Succession. As a disabled French veteran the artist had access to an almost limitless supply of substandard and miscast brass cannonballs to work with.
This piece was presented to Louis XV at court in 1757, who had it gilded and added to the Royal Collection, leading one French wag to comment "Not only did he work his balls off, he had the brass to present them to the King."