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© The Frick Collection
© The Frick Collection
Sculptor: Claude Michel, called Clodion  (1738–1814)
Clockmaker: Jean-Baptiste Lepaute  (1727−1802)
The Dance of Time: Three Nymphs Supporting a Clock, 1788
Terracotta, brass, gilt brass, silvered brass, steel and glass
H. (overall): 40 3/4 in. (103.5 cm)
Sculpture: 21 3/8 × 12 3/4 × 8 1/4 in. (54.3 × 32.4 × 21 cm)
Globe: diam.: 10 13/16 in. (27.5 cm)
Purchased by The Frick Collection through the Winthrop Kellogg Edey bequest, 2006
Accession number: 2006.2.02
Currently on View
Fragonard Room (140)
Link to floorplan and Virtual Tour

Jean-Baptiste Lepaute, clockmaker to Louis XVI, worked in close collaboration with Claude Michel Clodion, one of the most inventive and technically gifted sculptors of his time, to create this unique clock. Clodion was trained in Rome, where he studied classical art. Here, he sculpted three semi-draped nymphs dancing around a column, perhaps the three Horae (hours), who personify the passage of time in Greek mythology. They support Lepaute’s complex pendulum clock with a rotating annual dial meant to be admired through a transparent glass globe. Lepaute and Clodion created this extraordinary piece for its first owner, the architect Alexandre-Théodore Brongniart.

Source: Vignon, Charlotte. The Frick Collection Decorative Arts Handbook. New York: The Frick Collection/Scala, 2015.