CHARLES-EUGENE TRIOULLIER (active in Paris, 1844-1863)
Gilt bronze (foot and stem) and silver (cup)
Height: 12 7/8 inches (32.7 cm)
Diameter of cup: 4 inches (10.2 cm)
Diameter of base: 6 ¾ inches (17.1 cm)
Although this intricately worked chalice was created by Charles-Eugène Trioullier around 1850, its style deliberately recalls that of the sixteenth century and alludes to the significance of the Council of Trent of 1551, which confirmed as Catholic dogma the doctrine of Transubstantiation, in which the Eucharistic bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ.
As is fitting for an object intended to contain the wine during the mass, the object’s iconography centers around the sacrament of the Eucharist. Circling the outside of the cup are three scenes in relief associated with the sacrament: the Old Testament precursor of Moses presiding over the Hebrew celebration of Passover, and the New Testament stories of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes and the Last Supper. The foot of the chalice also combines Old and New Testament images associated with the sacrifice of the sacrament: the Sacrifice of Abraham, the Crucifixion, and the Descent from the Cross. The biblical scenes in relief are inspired by engravings by Bernard Salomon (Passover) and Nicolas Bonnart, after a lost painting by Philippe de Champaigne (Last Supper). Standing within niches around the center of the chalice’s stem are figures of Saints Paul, Peter, John the Baptist, Augustine of Hippo, Joseph, and Sebastian.
Active between 1844 and 1863, the Parisian goldsmith Charles-Eugène Trioullier worked first on the rue des Art, then on the rue de Vieux-Columbier, and subsequently on the Place Saint-Sulpice. A student and successor of the goldsmith Bertrand-Paraud, Trioullier was awarded medals in the Universal Exhibitions of 1833, 1844, 1849, and 1855, and received several commissions from Emperor Napoléon III.
This chalice is a model for one designed for the church of Fontenay-le-Comte, now in its treasury and considered Trioullier’s masterpiece. Our model remained in Trioullier’s atelier and subsequently in his family; as it was not designed for commercial use, it does not bear his hallmark.