The piece, entitled Neptune agité, is estimated to fetch between £341 000-512 000. Works by the master decorator Michel and his brother François often command figures in the hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Born in France in 1613, Michel's legacy is the decorations he created for many of the tombs, churches and palaces of France. The Anguier brothers' careers ran parallel to each other until Michel was in his forties.

After various trainings in workshops in France, Michel travelled to Rome where it is believed he studied in the workshop of the Baroque sculptor Alessandro Algardi. Following ten years in Rome, Michel returned to Paris in 1651.

Michel Anguier, . Artcurial Michel Anguier, Neptune agité. Artcurial

The brothers' works were inspired by the new Roman styles they had learnt. Once back in France, Michel was commissioned to decorate Queen Anne of Austria's apartments in the Louvre, which he modelled on Pietro da Cortona's creations for the Pitti Palace. In 1667, Michel completed his most important commission: the decoration of the Church of Val-de-Grâce in Paris. His relief and marble nativity group for the high altar their is now in the Church of Saint-Roch in Paris.

The mausoleum of Henri II, the last duke of Montmorency, at Moulins was another of Michel's standout works. Michel was also credited with the sculptures of the arch at the Porte Saint-Denis - a memorial of the conquests of Louis XIV.

Michel Anguier, Neptune. From the V&A Collection Michel Anguier, Neptune. From the V&A Collection

The V&A Collection features a bronze of Neptune made 1670-90 by Michel Anguier. The piece is a derivative of a model that was part of six images of gods and goddesses that Michel Anguier was commissioned to create in 1652. They were created as pairs to represent the elements, with water represented by Neptune and Amphritite. In early versions of this bronze Neptune's genitals were covered with flowing drapery.

Anguier received the commission for this series of gods and goddesses after returning to Paris in 1651. In his later years, he lectured at the Académie Royale on depicting gods through their temperaments.

Michel was not known as a bronze maker, and it is considered that he turned to a specialist founder to assist with reproducing his models as his large-scale commissions declined, making this bronze at Artcurial a very important piece.

The Old Masters and 19th century art sale at Artcurial will take place on 21st March, 2018. Check out more here.

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