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Nationalmuseum acquires Terracotta sculpture by Jean-Baptiste Stouf

Nationalmuseum has acquired a terracotta sculpture entitled The Faithful Friendship (La fidèle Amitié), created in 1795 by the French sculptor Jean-Baptiste Stouf (1742–1826) and exhibited at the Paris Salon that same year.

The sculpture portrays a woman dressed à l’antique leaning against the altar of friendship and love, guarded by a dog, the symbol of fidelity. She is holding her right hand to her heart, while a dove, the symbol of love, has perched on her shoulder and crowned her with a wreath of flowers from a pomegranate tree, which represents marriage.

The fine, graceful modelling of the woman’s skin in particular indicates that The Faithful Friendship should not be considered a prototype but rather a complete work in its own right. There are no other known versions. The phenomenon of finished terracotta was part of a new trend in the 18th century, when collectors were fascinated by the possibilities the material offered for artistic expression. This gave sculptors an opportunity to show off their creativity and technical skill on a smaller scale. Perhaps the best known creator of terracotta sculptures was Clodion, two of whose works are in Nationalmuseum’s collection. However, the museum’s terracotta collection is dominated by Sergel’s small sculptures, which have now been joined by The Faithful Friendship, by Sergel’s friend Stouf. For more information visit