Christie’s London auctions marble lions by French sculptor Andre Beauneveu
Marking a record sale for works produced by the artist, the sculptures are a reminder of the opulence enjoyed by aristocracy in pre-revolution France
Crafted for King Charles V of France in the 14th century, the marble figures that were made by Andre Beauneveu has sold for over $12.13 million. Sold on Thursday by Christie’s auction house in London, the sculptures were thought to have been lost during the French Revolution. Beauneveu, the famed French sculptor was said to have been tasked with constructing four family tombs by the royal family.
A near mirror image of each other, the sculptures were commissioned to form a part of the king’s tomb in Paris’ Abbey of Saint-Denis in 1366. Evidence of its inclusion to the tomb, come from the rods that can be seen on the back of the lions — showing where they would have been attached to the feet of the king’s effigy. The tomb was then dismantled in 1793, during the French revolution before the lions were bought by Thomas Neave, a British aristocrat, in 1802.
Having been a part of the same private collection for over two centuries, few would have known of its existence without the 18th-century engraving that it now carries. “These lions are a really important document for Beauneveu, of his style, and for the whole history of patronage of these royal courts in northern Europe in the 14th century,” said Christie’s Donald Johnston, speaking in a video by the auction house.