This is a marble sculpture piece by Jean-Baptiste II Lemoyne (Paris, 1704 - Paris, 1778). The stated theme is the classical myth of Vertumnus and Pomona taken from a story in Ovid's Metamorphoses. The myth is that of Pomona, a beautiful but haughty wood-nymph, with the sickle at right lower corner, sheltered herself inside her orchard, dedicating herself to its cultivation while spurning all suitors. Vertumnus, either a demigod of seasons or a satyr, is taken with the nymph's beauty, but she ignores and rebuffs all his advances to enter her realm. The mutable Vertumnus gains access to the orchard disguised or transformed into an old woman (here, an old man with basket). Once inside the disguised Vertumnus convinces the maiden, by means of allusive stories, to "carpe diem" and choose the handsome youth Vertumnus, who finally reveals his true form. Passionately he compares his plight with an elm tree which was intertwined with vines bearing grapes. If the tree stood alone, Vertumnus argued, the vine would have nowhere to go and the grapes would be trampled under foot. "You shun marriage and do not care to be wed," so he the god of the orchards cannot bear fruit without her help. His words melt the nymph's heart and they are united.
This scene by Lemoyne is an hommage given to the romantic relationship between Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour.