Étienne Maurice Falconet

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Étienne Maurice Falconet (1716–1791) was a French baroque, rococo and neoclassical sculptor. The influence of the painter François Boucher and of contemporary theater and ballet are equally in evidence in Falconet's subjects, and his sweet, elegantly erotic, somewhat coy manner. He made at least three works of spanking in sculpture.

Spanking sculptures by Falconet[edit]

Le Maître d'école (The Schoolmaster, c. 1762
Venus Chastising Cupid
Marble sculpture attributed to Falconet, depicting the popular motif of Venus spanking her son Cupid. Venus is standing, with Cupid in a kind of over-one-knee position. She is holding an implement, which is missing from the sculpture. Maybe it has broken off or it was made from some non-marble material. We can only guess that the implement may have been perhaps a birch rod or a bunch of roses.
Le Maître d'école (The Schoolmaster)
Porcelain figurine group depicting a seated schoolmaster and two schoolgirls. The schoolmaster, a birch rod in his left hand, uses his right hand to raise the skirts of one of the schoolgirls who is bent over his lap, her hands folded, obviously to receive a chastisement on the usual place of her anatomy. Made by Falconet in Sèvres c. 1762, after a drawing by François Boucher: A Teacher Punishing a Little Girl.
La Maîtresse d'école (The Schoolmistress)
Porcelain figurine group depicting a seated schoolmistress holding a birch rod, with two (quite young) schoolboys. Both boys have their trousers opened and partially let down. One is crying and the other is making a begging gesture. A book that was used for teaching has fallen to the ground. Made by Falconet in Sèvres in 1762, after a drawing by François Boucher: La maîtresse d'école.

The two porcelain works Le Maître d'école and La Maîtresse d'école obviously form a pair. Both teachers wear kind, caring expressions on their faces. Falconet skillfully found ways to depict the scenes of bare-bottom birching without actually showing a bare bottom: the viewer's mind is allowed to fill in the before and after from their imagination.

See also[edit]


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