Moulin’s Find at Pompeii is one of several male statues featured in my adult story “On Display”. Do not follow this link if you find sexual content offensive.
“The Son of a poor shopkeeper, Hippolyte Moulin entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1855 but, for financial reasons, was soon forced to stop attending classes. To earn a living he gave language lessons at pensions in the Marais district of Paris. Although he studied with Auguste-Louis-Marie Ottin and with Barye, for the most part Moulin seems to have been self-taught. He made his Salon debut in 1857 and obtained his first success with a bronze, A Lucky Find at Pompeii, which won a medal at the Salon of 1864. Moulin continued exhibiting at the Salon until 1877, winning medals in 1867, 1869, and at the Exposition Universelle of 1878.
A Lucky Find at Pompeii [left: statuette] is probably Moulin’s best-known work. A life-size bronze version, signed and dated 1863, was exhibited and won a medal at the Salon of 1864; the same year it was purchased by the State for 7,000 francs; in 1867, it was included at the Exposition Universelle. Part of the Musée du Luxembourg collection during the nineteenth century, and [subsequently exhibited] in the Louvre, [the life-size bronze is now in the Musée d’Orsay, although there is no image of it on the Orsay website.] Reviewing the Salon of 1864, the critic Léon Lagrange remarked that all the best statues of that year were balanced on one foot. While certain of these works, such as Falguière’s Winner of the Cockfight [which today stands on a tall pedestal alongside Moulin’s Lucky Find in the Musée d’Orsay], adopted the pose of Giambologna’s Mercury, Moulin’s figure was inspired by the famous antique Dancing Faun from Pompeii (original in Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples).
[Another statue which uses an almost identical pose is the American Frederick MacMonnies’ female nude, Bacchante and Infant Faun (1895), which caused considerable controversy when it was installed at the Boston Public Library: follow this link for more details.]
Moulin’s figure also grows out of nineteenth-century tradition which includes Duret’s Dancing Neapolitan Boy. Somewhat contrived, both in pose and in subject, A Lucky Find at Pompeii combines several elements - an adolescent, a movemented, unconventional pose, and an exotic genre subject - that recur continually in Salon sculpture of the period.”
- Adapted from The Romantics to Rodin by Peter Fusco and H.W. Janson
Images of Moulin’s Secret d’en Haut (A Secret from On High) and Une Trouvaille a Pompeii (A Lucky Find at Pompeii):
Secret D’en Haut: