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COLLECTION Egyptian, Greek and Roman sculptures

Galerie Chenel


COLLECTION

MMX X


We are collectors, heart and soul, and we are always seeking out extraordinary objects. The difference is that we are still first and foremost art dealers – that is the basis of our wonderful profession. We are lucky enough to live with these sculptures for a time and feel the emotion that comes in the moment of possession. We take the time to appreciate them in different lights – a soft morning glow, controlled lighting or an afternoon ray of sunshine crossing the apartment. Preciously kept for a time in our interiors within our treasure troves, they temporarily share our lives among our personal gems. However, without a doubt, one day, each one will be added to another collection in another place and will come alive once more; perhaps, this time, for much longer, to be admired alongside other wonders. We are delighted to present to you our recent acquisitions, our latest “collection”.


FRAGMENT OF A RELIEF EGYP T IAN, M IDDL E KING DOM, 2033-1 7 86 BC

LIMESTONE

HEIGHT: 14.5 CM.

WIDTH: 9.5 CM.

DEPTH: 2.5 CM.

PROVENANCE: FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF Y.E. IN PARIS, ACQUIRED BETWEEN 1930 AND 1956 ACCORDING TO FAMILY. PASSED DOWN BY DESCENDANCE THEREAFTER.

This delicate fragment of an Egyptian stele,

the stele relief. Beneath the sun stands a small bird

sculpted from limestone, was crafted during the

of exceptional quality. The bird is represented in

Middle Kingdom, a period that lasted from

profile, with precise, exquisite details, reflecting

2033 to 1786 BC. It is engraved with hieroglyphs,

the sculptor’s skill. Standing on both legs, its body

a figurative writing system that had already

is slim and elongated. Its beak, the edge of its eye

dominated in Egypt for centuries. We can

and its wing were delicately enhanced and carved,

make-out a sun with three lines and a bird portrayed

giving the bird relief, as well as a certain severity.

in profile. In the top part of the fragment, there is a

On the right side of the fragment, there is a thick

circle with three rays, each composed of many small

groove that runs from top to bottom. This suggests

triangles sculpted in relief. This motif, interpreted

that there was once another column of hieroglyphs,

as the representation of a shining sun, is considered

which leads us to think that our fragment originally

archaic. It would already have been several centuries

belonged to a larger whole.

old. The rays are represented through a subtle

It is difficult to interpret these hieroglyphs due to

chain of triangles, each exquisitely carved, giving

the fragmentary nature of our stele. However, as


these symbols were frequently used on funerary

Meru conserved in Turin (Ill. 4). Many sculptors

steles, it is not too difficult to glean their meaning.

also had model plaques featuring the small bird.

The representation of this hieroglyph undoubtedly

These made it possible to replicate many examples

conveyed the idea of “shining”, “radiance” or “rise”.

of the motif so that its representation was identical

The archaic sun was often used in later dynasties,

throughout the land, but also helped young scribes

such as 36th Dynasty, established between 664 and

to practise the motif until they achieved perfection.

500 BC. A sarcophagus from that time adorned

A sculptor’s model conserved at the Louvre museum

with an archaic sun is currently conserved in Lyon

in Paris thus shows two quail chicks in different

(Ill. 1). In Dendera, the walls of a temple complex

stages of their creation (Ill. 5), while the collection

dated to the reign of King Pepi I (2289-2255 BC)

of the Rodin museum in Paris includes a finished

and dedicated to Hathor, goddess of beauty and

sculptor’s model (Ill. 6).

maternity, are decorated with a myriad of suns

Egyptian steles, sculpted in wood or limestone,

identical to our hieroglyph (Ill. 2). On another stele

were placed in funerary temples or tombs alongside

dating from the 10th century BC and conserved at the

the deceased and could either represent them

Louvre museum in Paris, the polychrome triangles

directly or portray scenes of offerings. The motifs

of an archaic shining sun are radiating towards a

were accompanied by hieroglyphs that generally

young woman accompanied by the sun god Ra (Ill. 3).

described the life of the deceased, their name, their age, their family and even their livelihood.

Ill. 1. Coffin of Isetenkheb (detail), early Saite period, 36th dynasty, ca. 664-500 BC, painted wood, H.: 176 cm. Musée

Ill. 4. Stele of Meru (detail), 11th dynasty, ca. 2125-2055 BC,

des Beaux-Arts, Lyon, inv. no. 1969-197.

polychrome limestone. Museo Egizio, Turin, inv. no. C.1447.

Ill. 2. Detail of a bas-relief, Temple of Hathor, 6th dynasty,

Ill. 5. Two quail chicks, sculptors’ models, 4th-3rd century BC,

Dendera, Egypt.

limestone, H.: 22 cm. Musée du Louvre, Paris, inv. no. E. 11129.

Ill. 3. Stele of Lady Taperet, 10 -9 century BC, painted wood,

Ill. 6. Quail chick, sculptor’s model, Late Period, 750-320 BC,

H.: 31 cm. Musée du Louvre, Paris, inv. no. E 52.

limestone, H.: 8.9 cm. Musée Rodin, Paris, inv. no. 03422.

The bird is known to Egyptologists as a “quail

This Egyptian stele belonged to Y.E., a Parisian

chick” and its phonetic value is the “oo” sound. Also

private collector. According to his family, the stele

synonymous with the plural in hieroglyphic writing,

was acquired between 1930 and 1956. It was then

it is represented on many steles such as that of

passed down as an heirloom within the same family.

th

th


FRAGMENT OF A LEFT HAND RO MA N, 1 S T CENTU RY A D

BRONZE

HEIGHT: 10 CM.

WIDTH: 12 CM.

DEPTH: 17 CM.

PROVENANCE: FORMERLY IN THE FRENCH PRIVATE COLLECTION OF DR PIERRE MALLET-GUY (1897-1995), RECEIVED AS A PRESENT FROM HIS PARENTS FOR HIS TWENTIETH BIRTHDAY IN 1917. SINCE THEN, PASSED DOWN AS AN HEIRLOOM.

This delicate, life-sized hand once belonged to the

As it is represented in a particularly realistic way,

life-sized statue of a man, perhaps the effigy of a

we can distinguish the phalanges, bones and even

Roman aristocrat, or even a famous personage from

the nails. The fingers are elegantly curled inwards,

Antiquity such as an emperor. Crafted in bronze,

except for the index. It, on the contrary, is extended

with a dark green patina and some signs of wear, this

as if to point at something or someone or give a

fragment is an extremely valuable archaeological

direction. At the wrist, there are folds of drapery,

object.

allowing us to imagine the bronze statue of a draped man such as the bronze statue of a patron

Our left hand still has all its fingers, except for the

from Herculaneum, Lucius Mammius Maximus,

thumb. Despite the absence of thumb and palm, its

conserved at the National Archaeological Museum

considerable delicacy makes it possible to gauge the

in Naples (Ill. 1). Our hand was created through

quality of the sculpture to which it once belonged.

hollow lost-wax casting. This technique, which was


used by the Greeks and then the Romans, made it

Archaeological Museum in Naples have rings

possible to create large, hollow sculptures, sparing

engraved with the lituus on their left hands. One

material and reducing the weight of the sculpture.

represents Augustus in heroic nudity (Ill. 3) and the

It consists in making a wax model, which was then

other, a draped Tiberius (Ill. 4). These rings were

heated at very high temperatures. Once the wax had

also worn by aristocrats to assert their social status

melted, it was evacuated through vents and replaced

and their power, while simultaneously associating

by the molten bronze.

themselves with divine will, as is the case for the statue of Marcus Calatorius, Roman aristocrat (Ill. 5).

Ill. 1. Statue of Lucius Mammius Maximus, Roman, 1st century AD, bronze, H.: 212 cm. Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples, inv. no. 5591. Ill. 2. Coin with a lituus (right), Roman, reign of Nerva, AD 97,

Ill. 3. Statue of Augustus, Roman, AD 49–50, bronze, H.: 250 cm. Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples, inv. no. 5595.

silver, 3.23 g. British Museum, London, inv. no. R.11484.

All the delicacy and finesse that went into the creation of our elegant hand are apparent in the ring, called annulus in Latin, on the first phalange of the index finger. The centre of the jewel is adorned with an engraving, in which we can make out a serpentine form surmounted by a rectangular scroll. The

Ill. 4. Statue of Tiberius, Roman, 1st century AD, bronze, H.: 230 cm. Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples, inv. no. 5615.

sinuous symbol is strongly reminiscent of the lituus, a staff with a curled end used by augurs to delineate the sacred area of temples in religious rites (Ill. 2).

Litui were also used by emperors to interpret the will of the gods. Gradually, the symbol thus became one of the official imperial insignia, and the emperor Augustus and his successors wore the engraved rings for their official portraits as an illustration of their power. Two statues conserved at the National

Ill. 5. Statue of M. Calatorius, Roman, 1st century AD, bronze, H.: 217 cm. Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples, inv. no. 5597.


Our hand can thus be compared to the examples conserved in Naples’ museum, by its quality, its position and the ring representing the lituus. Although it is impossible to give a definite identification of the owner of the hand due to its fragmentary state, there is no doubt as to the high ranking status of the man, who could have been an emperor or a high official in the Roman period. Often placed in Roman forums and religious buildings, statues of emperors, politicians and wealthy Romans dominated their surroundings by their imposing size and exceptional quality. Our bronze hand was part of the collection of Dr Pierre Mallet-Guy (1897-1995), a surgeon from Lyon who travelled his whole life as representative of the Direction GÊnÊrale des Affaires Culturelles (Directorate General for Cultural Affairs). He received the hand as a present from his parents on the occasion of his twentieth birthday in 1917 and it remained in his collection until his death in 1995. It was passed down to his children as an heirloom.


MUSE RO MAN, 1 S T -2 ND CE NTU RY A D

MARBLE FEET AND BASE RESTORED

HEIGHT: 62 CM.

WIDTH: 26 CM.

DEPTH: 12 CM.

PROVENANCE: FORMER EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION SINCE THE LATE 18 TH CENTURY, BASED ON THE RESTORATION TECHNIQUES. PROBABLY BOUGHT IN ROME IN THE 1950S. FORMERLY IN THE AMERICAN PRIVATE COLLECTION OF MR TREBILCOCK, NEW YORK, PURCHASED FROM GALERIE ARCHÉOLOGIE, 40 RUE DU BAC, 7 TH ARRONDISSEMENT, PARIS, ON 2 MAY 1969.

This Roman statue, sculpted in high quality white

sway of the body, called contrapposto, animates the

marble, reveals a play of drapery and folds and the

statue and contrasts the line of the hips with that of

sensual suggestion of a woman’s body.

the shoulders, allowing the young woman’s body to

Our woman is standing, her left leg forward and

form a subtle ‘S’ shape, imbuing the sculpture with

flexed while the right, which is supporting her,

sensuality and motion. Her drapery is formed by a

is tensed, bearing the weight of her body. The

long himation that covers her shoulders and right

position creates a slight sway of the hips, hinted

arm. Behind her, a fold of her garment is fluttering

at beneath the folds of the drapery. Her flexed left

out, as for the front, over the pillar.

arm rests on a pillar, while the right is brought up

Beneath, it is possible to glimpse a fine chiton

to her breast, disappearing into the folds of fabric.

composed of two successive layers, visible in the two

The line of her shoulders is also slightly slanted,

distinct hems of the lower part. Certain spots have a

in the opposite direction to that of the hips. This

“wet” effect and seem to stick to the young woman’s


skin, on her left leg, for instance. The entire drapery

The “Sarcophagus of the Muses”, conserved at the

looks silky, a testament to the sculptor’s delicacy and

Louvre museum in Paris (Ill. 1-1), has a frieze with

dexterity. Finally, hidden under the fabric and the

the nine Muses on one side. The first figure from

numerous folds are small breasts, which enable us to

the left, representing Calliope (Ill. 1-2), Muse of epic

confirm the sex of our sculpted figure.

poetry, and the third, Terpsichore (Ill. 1-3), Muse

No visible attributes reveal the identity of this

of dance, are both very similar to our sculpture.

woman, but we may suppose her to be a Muse. The

On another side, another Muse, this time, capite

drapery, the “wet” effect on her leg and the pillar are

velato (Ill. 1-4), leaning against a pillar, is also very

features that are reproduced in many Greek and

similar. The representations of Polyhymnia, Muse

Roman sculptures representing the Muses. The

of rhetoric and eloquence, often portrayed leaning

nine goddesses were born from the union of Zeus

against a pillar, were particularly appreciated by the

and the Titanide Mnemosyne, who is said to have

high dignitaries and aristocrats of ancient Rome.

invented words and language on Earth. The Muses

A statue conserved at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

generally each held an attribute such as a book, a

in Copenhagen (Ill. 2) and a high relief of the

flute or a theatrical mask, making it possible to

Muse on a Roman sarcophagus (Ill. 3) conserved in

recognise them. Our muse must once have held the

Marseille may also be likened to our sculpture.

attribute that would have enabled us to identify her in her left hand, now missing.

Ill. 1-1. Sarcophagus of the Muses, Roman, 2nd century AD, marble, W.: 206 cm. Musée du Louvre, Paris, inv. no. MR 880.

Ill. 2. Statue of Polyhymnia, Roman, 2nd century AD, marble, H.: 179 cm. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, inv. no. 1547. Ill. 3. Sarcophagus (detail), Roman, AD 240-250, marble, H.: 72 cm. Château Borély, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, de la Faïence et de la Mode, Marseille, inv. no. 146.

Ill. 1-2. Detail of the Muse Calliope. Ill. 1-3. Detail of the Muse Terpsichore. Ill. 1-4. Detail of a Muse and a seated man.


As the Muses were the incarnation of beauty, the arts and the divine, artworks representing them were particularly treasured by Rome’s aristocratic elite. Their presence in domus and villas allowed their owners to show and assert not only their knowledge and culture, but also their wealth, through particularly refined and delicate artworks, like our Muse. Probably bought in Rome in 1950, this statue was

acquired

from

Galerie

ArchĂŠologie

in

the 7 th arrondissement of Paris by New York painter Mr Paul Trebilcock (1902-1981) in 1969. It was sent to New York the same year to take its place in his collection.


LID OF A CINERARY URN ET RUS CAN, CHIU SI, 2 ND CENTU RY BC

TERRACOTTA, TRACES OF POLYCHROMY

HEIGHT: 32 CM.

WIDTH: 45 CM.

DEPTH: 23 CM.

PROVENANCE: FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF WLADIMIR DE GRĂœNEISEN (1868-?), FROM AT LEAST 1925. FORMER PARISIAN PRIVATE COLLECTION SINCE THEN.

This delicate terracotta sculpture representing a

the viewer an impression of softness, demonstrating

deceased woman is the lid of a cinerary urn. She is

the dexterity of the artist.

represented in a semi-reclining position, upper body

The young woman is represented in the traditional

raised, leaning on her left arm, which is supported

posture of guests at a banquet, systematically

by a cushion. Her right arm rests alongside her body

represented reclining on klinai, divans used

and in her hand, she is holding a leaf-shaped fan.

for banquets, with their left arms supported by

Her legs are parted, right knee raised, right foot set

cushions. These urn lids were generally crafted

straight down, while her left leg is bent and rests on

with moulds. However, what makes this one

the ground. The young woman’s hairstyle consists

exceptional is that it was shaped by hand, with a

of two twisted locks separated by a central parting,

graver, or in other words, a wooden spatula, which

which come together in a low chignon on the nape of

gives the whole sculpture a certain spontaneity.

her neck. She is wearing a tunic girded beneath her

Finally, traces of polychromy, particularly a red

bosom and a thicker mantle covering the entirety

colour, are still visible. Beautiful sculptures of

of her legs. The fabric is represented by large folds,

deceased persons reclining in this very position

giving a singular vibrancy and feeling of motion. It is

surmount urns conserved in New York, in

easy to guess at each part of the body hidden under

Carlsruhe and in Perugia (Ill. 1-3).

the drapery. Moreover, the folds of the cushion give


This urn was part of Wladimir de Grüneisen’s collection. Born in Saint Petersburg in 1868, he studied in his native city before settling in Italy. Following his many publications and research studies, he was named representative of the Imperial Archaeological Institute in Rome by Ill. 1. Cinerary urn, Etruscan, 2nd century BC, terracotta,

emperor Nicholas II of Russia. In the middle of the

H.: 71.8 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York,

20th century, he finally moved to Paris, where he

inv. no. 96.9.223a, B. Ill. 2. Cinerary urn, Etruscan, Chiusi, 150-120 BC, terracotta.

continued to study Greek, Roman and Etruscan art.

Badisches Landesmuseum, Karlsruhe.

Our lid of a cinerary urn was represented in an illustration in the catalogue entitled Collection

Wladimir de Gruneisen, ci-devant représentant de l’Institut Archéologique Impérial de Nicolas II – Art Classique (“Wladimir de Grüneisen collection, former representative of the Imperial Archaeological Institute of Nicholas II – Classical Art” - Ill. 4). The Ill. 3. Cinerary urn, Etruscan, Chiusi, 2nd-1st century BC,

1925 notice mentioned, among other details, that

terracotta. Museo Archeologico Nazionale dell’Umbria

“the craftsmanship apparent in the lid, shaped by

Perugia.

hand and with a graver, is of an appealing artistic freshness…”.

The Etruscans cremated their deads until the end of the Hellenistic period in the 1st century BC. Cities such as Chiusi, in the province of Siena, then developed workshops specialising in the production of cinerary urns. Typically mass-moulded, these urns were composed of a rectangular base representing mythological or funerary scenes in high relief, while the deceased were represented on the lid in a semi-reclining position, with generic features. Some of the urns, however, were personally crafted by the artist, probably for special orders placed by wealthy clients.

Ill. 4. Publication.


The illustration shows that the lid rested on a rectangular vessel decorated with the episode of a Theban legend: the fight between the rivalrous brothers Eteocles and Polynices, the sons of Oedipus, king of Thebes. Upon his death, the two brothers decided to share the throne. When one refused to transfer power to the other, a fight broke out, and both died. The young men are flanked by two furies, Megaera and Tisiphone. This episode of Hellenic mythology inspired many artists for the decoration of funerary urns. The same scene can be found, for instance, on funerary urns conserved at the Louvre museum (Ill. 5) and the Vatican museums in Paris (Ill. 6).

Ill. 5. Cinerary urn, Etruscan, Chiusi, 2nd century BC, H.: 28 cm. Musée du Louvre, Paris, inv. no. MN 1164. Ill. 6. Cinerary urn of the tomb of the Ceicna, Etruscan, Chiusi, 200-150 BC, H.: 28 cm. Vatican Museums, inv. no. 16254.

Publication: - Collection Wladimir de Gruneisen, ci-devant

représentant de l’Institut Archéologique Impérial de Nicolas II – Art Classique (“Wladimir de Grüneisen collection, former representative of the Imperial Archaeological Institute of Nicholas II – Classical Art”), Paris, 1925, p. 47, ill. XXVIII.


CYCLADIC IDOL CYCLADIC ART, SPEDOS TYPE, S ECOND HALF OF THE 3 RD MIL L E NNIU M BC

MARBLE RIGHT ELBOW RESTORED

HEIGHT: 13.5 CM.

WIDTH: 10 CM.

DEPTH: 2.5 CM.

PROVENANCE: FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF THE BANKER AND PHILOSOPHER PIERRE MOUSSA (1922-2019), ACQUIRED AT THE SIMONE DE MONBRISON GALLERY, 22 RUE BONAPARTE, 6 TH ARRONDISSEMENT, PARIS, ON 17 FEBRUARY 1977.

This exquisite sculpture represents the torso of

with the peoples of nearby regions. The idols are

a Cycladic idol. With human forms reduced to a

figurines of varying sizes, mainly representing nude

minimum, our idol is portrayed with straight, broad

women, with simple, schematic forms. The many

shoulders and a slightly prominent chest, arms

types of representation evolved over the centuries.

folded one above the other, represented by simple

Subtle variations and details emerged, making it

lines carved in the marble. The waist narrows at the

possible to distinguish workshops, centres and even

pelvis, giving the sculpture a slim figure. The back

sculptors. Our idol should be assimilated to the

is simply represented by a carved spine and two

Spedos type, the name of a cemetery on the island of

folds representing the start of the neck.

Naxos, where many idols with similar stylistic traits

Cycladic idols are sculptures from the Cyclades, a

were found. On the basis of conserved examples,

mountainous archipelago of 56 islands in the Aegean

our sculpture would have had a U shaped face, a

Sea surrounding the island of Delos. The Cycladic

frustoconical nose sculpted in relief and an incised

civilisation thrived during the first Bronze Age,

pubic triangle, ending in long legs, represented

particularly through the trade of marble and obsidian

side by side and separated only by a carved line.


The feet generally tapered into points, which made

and, more precisely, a cult linked to fertility or

the objects unable to stand. Gorgeous examples of

reproduction, crucial themes for the people of the

the Spedos type are conserved in the most renowned

region. That would explain why the idols are mainly

museums in the world (Ill. 1-4).

women, represented naked, unable to stand and thus probably lying down, arms folded, denoting rest. The mystery surrounding Cycladic idols, as well as the extreme schematisation of the female figure, greatly appealed to modern artists, particularly in Paris at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Extremely simplified shapes can, for instance, be found in the works of Modigliani, Brancusi and Picasso (Ill. 5-7).

Ill. 1. Female figure, Spedos type, Early Cycladic II, 2700-2300 BC, marble, H.: 35 cm. Musée du Louvre, Paris, inv. no. MA 5012. Ill. 2. Female idol, Spedos type, ca. 2700-2500 BC, marble, H.: 76 cm. British Museum, London, inv. no. 1971,0521.1.

Ill.

5.

Amedeo

Modigliani,

Musée

National

d’A rt

“Tête

Moderne,

de

femme”,

Villeneuve

1913.

d’A scq,

inv. no. AM1993-124. Ill. 6. Constantin Brancusi, “Torse de jeune femme”, 1918. Kunstmuseum, Basel, inv. no. G1980.10. Ill. 7. Pablo Picasso, “Vase : Femme”, 1949. Musée National Picasso, Paris, inv. no. MP3693. Ill. 3. Female Figure, Late Spedos type, 2500-2400 BC, marble, H.: 60 cm. J. P. Getty Museum, Los Angeles, inv. no. 88.AA.80.

Our Cycladic idol was part of the collection owned

Ill. 4. Female idol, Early Cycladic II, 2600-2400 BC,

by Pierre Moussa (1922-2019), Parisian banker,

marble, H.: 62 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, inv. no. 68.148.

businessman and philanthropist. Purchased from the Simone de Monbrison gallery in February 1977 (Ill. 8), it joined an eclectic collection made up of

Today, the specific function of these idols is still

modern paintings, Chinese ceramics, Art Deco

unknown. As they were essentially found in

pieces and even Egyptian works, all chosen with a

tombs, they were probably linked to religious rites

keen gaze, but also through love at first sight.


Ill. 8. Certificate of the Simone de Monbrison gallery.


BUST OF A MAN WITH A PALUDAMENTUM ROMA N, 2 ND CENTU RY A D

MARBLE NOSE AND EARS RESTORED, REPOLISHED

HEIGHT: 82 CM.

WIDTH: 54 CM.

DEPTH: 35 CM.

PROVENANCE: FORMER BRITISH PRIVATE COLLECTION OF THE CROWTHER FAMILY AT SYON LODGE, ISLEWORTH, ENGLAND, SINCE AT LEAST THE 1950S.

This bust, which exudes an incredible sense of

draped in a paludamentum, simply worn on his left

presence, represents a middle-aged man. The

shoulder and fastened with a fibula, while his sword

curved carving of the bust rests on a foot decorated

belt is slung across his right shoulder. This military

with an elegant tabula, all sculpted from a single

cape, reserved for emperors and generals, and the

block of marble. Although the little plaque framed

hint of a sword emphasise his status as a warrior-

with scrolls is devoid of any name, the work is

fighter. His regulatory military haircut serves the

typical of Roman portraits from the 2nd century AD.

same purpose. With this iconography, the sculptor’s

These busts, works of art in and of themselves, were

aim was to assimilate this bust to one of the emperor

to draw attention to the splendour of their owners.

Trajan (Ill. 1). Inspired by portraits of the emperor

They also made it possible to capture the features

disseminated throughout the Empire, our bust

and psyches of the persons represented.

has the same clean-cut sloping shoulder line, as

The subject is represented with his chest bared. A

well as the same dimpled ear lobe. These features

heritage of classical Greece, semi-nudity transports

enable us to date our bust to the Antonine period

the model to the world of heroes and myths. He is

(AD 96-192).


Similar to a bust dating to the first quarter of the

busts using the extensive array offered by the

2nd century AD and conserved at the Vatican

Crowthers in the most iconic of their properties,

Museums (Ill. 2), our work is a rare example in

Syon Lodge, located in the London suburb of

which the body reflects the age of the model. The

Isleworth. It was on that occasion that Vermeule

skin was shaped in a masterful way, showing the

took a photo of our bust (Ill. 3). Unfortunately, the

marks of time. The particularly lifelike, unflinching

photo was never published in his “ Supplements to

execution makes our subject a truly remarkable

Ancient Marbles in Great Britain”.

artwork. The sculptor skilfully managed to instil this portrait with expression and wisdom. For the Romans, the ultimate goal was less to show the physical traits of models than their psychological traits. The main virtus of our man thus seems to be his maturity and strength of character.

Ill. 3. C. Vermeule, Photograph of a bust at the T. Crowther & Sons gallery at Syon Lodge, 1950s, American Academy in Rome.

Ill. 1. Portrait of Trajan, Roman, AD 98-117, marble, H.: 74 cm. Musei Capitolini, Rome, inv. no. MC0276. Ill. 2. Anonymous bust, Roman, first part of the 2nd century AD, marble, H.: 71 cm. Vatican Museums.

Our bust is a testament to the taste and expert appraisal of the Crowther family, its previous owners,

who

boast

renowned

art

dealers

specialising in the sale of antique and garden statuary since the end of the 19th century. Cornelius Vermeule (1925-2008), professor of antique art and curator of classical art at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, conducted a thorough study on Roman


STELEPHORUS STATUE EGYP T IAN, 18 T H DYNA STY, CA . 1 400-1 292 BC

GRANITE

HEIGHT: 21.5 CM.

WIDTH: 18 CM.

DEPTH: 16 CM.

PROVENANCE: IN THE GALERIE DES SAINTS PÈRES, 6 TH ARRONDISSEMENT, PARIS, IN NOVEMBER 1982. THEN ACQUIRED BY NORMA-JEAN AND BERNARD V. BOTHMER (1912-1993) ON 8 SEPTEMBER 1984.

statue

his pelvis suggests that he was wearing a loincloth.

represents a man holding a stele engraved with

Finally, the sculptor even went as far as to represent

many hieroglyphs against his torso. Stelophorous

the folds of the skin on our man’s chest.

statues appeared in Thebes at the beginning of the

The cube shaped between his arms has hieroglyphs

18th Dynasty (ca. 1400-1292 BC), and their main

on several sides. The top of the front side is

purpose was the worship of the sun god, Re.

decorated with the representation of a solar bark in

Our statue portrays a man, only the upper part of

which a figure is sitting. Above him is carved a sun

whose body has been conserved. Of his face remain

at its zenith. This part depicts Re-Horakhty, the

small ears and a typical beaded wig that falls to his

Egyptian

shoulders. His chin rests on a cubic stele, while

one

his hands are raised, palms facing outwards. The

linked

precision and the exceptional nature of our statue

sun god and creator of the universe. Underneath,

culminate in the details given by the sculptor: the

two columns of hieroglyphs display a hymn

lines of the hands are exquisitely carved, a mark on

dedicated to the god by the deceased. To the left,

This

superb

Egyptian

‘stelophorous’

of

sun the to

god aspects

the

combining

Horakhty,

of

Horus

that

was

sun,

and

Re,

rising


we can decipher “You cross the sky”, while the right

strengthening the sculpture’s structure. This

hand column can be translated as “To adore Re

surface expanded more and more when it started to

when he rises/when he appears”.

be used as a text support. This ‘material stock’ then

The top of the cube displays hieroglyphs and two

became a real stele, separating little by little from

scrolls containing two names. On one side, that

the adoring figure, as we can see on an example

of King Amenhotep I, second sovereign of the

from the Egyptian museum in Berlin and an other

18th Dynasty, under the name by which he was

one in the collection of the Louvre museum in Paris

crowned, Amon. On the other is carved the name

(Ill. 2-3).

of Queen Ahmose Nefertari, wife of Pharaoh Ahmose I, founder of the 18th Dynasty. Finally, the back of our sculpture is decorated with two columns of hieroglyphs. The left one states “[…] at each dawn for the ka [of…]”, probably followed by the name of the beneficiary, now gone. The right column mentions the “offering given to Amon Re-Horakhty by the king”. The deceased thus

Ill. 1. Statue of Sety, Egyptian, 18th Dynasty, limestone,

honours and adores the sun god, hoping that he will

H.: 33 cm. Brooklyn Museum, New York, inv. no. 37.263E.

grant him eternal peace.

Ill. 2. Stelophorous statue of Sa-Iset, Egyptian, 18th Dynasty,

ca. 1400 BC, limestone, H.: 30 cm. Ägyptisches Museum, Berlin, inv. no. 2314.

This statue, with its particular iconography portraying an adoring figure before the sun, corresponds to a new kind of iconography that developed during the 18th Dynasty and is the first piece of evidence of the physical and literary representation of sun worship. Although the statue has not been conserved in its entirety, comparisons with other stelophorous sculptures from the same period enable us to imagine its original shape.

Ill. 3. Stelophorous statue of Neferronpet, Egyptian, 18th Dynasty, ca. 1500 BC, sandstone, H.: 39 cm. Musée du Louvre, Paris, inv. no. A79.

At first, stelephorous depicted simple adoring figures, usually kneeling, the arms raised and

The granite stelophorous statues of the same

palms facing the front (Ill. 1). Over the centuries, a

period generally comprised flat steles. From an

“material stock” was added between their arms,

iconographic standpoint, the hieroglyphs on


our stele and the theme of worship feature in

Our stelophorous statue was in the collections

other stelophorous statues conserved in several

of

international museums. A gorgeous example of

6th arrondissement of Paris between 1982 and

a statue representing the solar bark is conserved

1984. On 8 September 1984, it was acquired by

at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

Bertrand V. Bothmer (1912-1993), American

(Ill. 4). Another piece, among the collections of the

Egyptologist and professor of Egyptology at the

Calvet museum in Avignon, has a hymn particularly

Institute of Arts in New York (Ill. 6).

the

Galerie

des

Saints

Pères

similar to ours, mentioning the god Re-Horakhty in the following terms: “Adore Re-Horakhty (when) he rises over the basket maker (of Amon)” (Ill. 5).

Ill. 4. Stelophorous statue of Bay (detail), Egyptian, 19th Dynasty, ca. 1294-1250 BC, limestone, H.: 28.1 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, inv. no. 66.99.94. Ill. 5. Stelophorous statue of Houy, Egyptian, 18th Dynasty, limestone, H.: 42.5 cm. Musée Calvet, Avignon, inv. no. A41.

The fact our sculpture is made of granite, noblest of stones, even harder to carve than limestone, shows the great skill of the sculptor. Moreover, despite the absence of the name of the beneficiary, this kind of statue was ordered by wealthy people such as high dignitaries or the servants of the Egyptian monarchy. These two factors lead us to think that our stelophorous statue was an exceptional piece, placed in the tomb of an important figure.

Ill. 6. Bertrand V. Bothmer (1912-1993).

in

the


PORTRAIT OF A PATRICIAN RO MAN, B EGINNING OF THE 2 ND CENTURY AD

MARBLE

HEIGHT: 26 CM.

WIDTH: 17 CM.

DEPTH: 19 CM.

PROVENANCE: FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF THE BANKER AND PHILOSOPHER PIERRE MOUSSA (1922-2019), ACQUIRED AT THE SIMONE DE MONBRISON GALLERY, 22 RUE BONAPARTE, 6 TH ARRONDISSEMENT, PARIS, ON 14 SEPTEMBER 1978.

This elegant head represents a patrician. The young

into an intricate chignon made up of three rows of

woman has a delicate oval face with a pointed chin

exquisitely plaited and entwined locks, revealing the

and high cheekbones. Her almond-shaped eyes with

top part of her head. The sculptor put all his finesse

their prominent eyelids, as well as her delicately

and skill into the detail visible in each plaited lock,

sculpted eyebrows, give her a calm, thoughtful

as well as the delicate ringlets falling around the

expression. Her nose is straight, while her full lips

young woman’s ears and the nape of her neck.

form a wide mouth, emphasising the impression of severity and wisdom befitting her rank. Her

This is thus the portrait of a patrician, or in

hairstyle is made up of strands of hair flattened

another words, the wife of a high-ranking Roman

to her forehead, drawn back and separated by a

citizen, as opposed to a plebeian woman. In Roman

central parting, uncovering her ears. The whole

times, patricians held important positions and

hairstyle is crowned with a high diadem, devoid

could be members of the Senate or magistrates.

of any decoration and simply featuring an edge at

Patricians were regularly represented, in the fashion

the top. At the back of her head, her hair is pulled

of the time, particularly as regarded hairstyle.


House in England and the Louvre museum in Paris, exhibit the same kind of hairstyle (Ill. 3-4). Our portrait of a patrician was part of the collection of the Simone de Monbrison gallery, located at 22 Rue Bonaparte in the 6th arrondissement in Paris Ill. 1. Matidia Minor, Roman, AD 138-161, marble, H.: 37.5 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, inv. no. 21.88.35. Ill. 2. Sabina (detail), Roman, AD 128-137, marble, H.: 216 cm. Musée Municipal, Vaison-la-Romaine, inv. no. 990.54.004.

(Ill. 5), before it was acquired by Pierre Moussa on 14 September 1978. Pierre Moussa, who was born in 1922 and died in 2019, was a banker, philosopher, man of letters and humanist. Over the years, he and his wife, Anne-Marie, collected a wide variety of objects with which they had fallen in love. From contemporary art with a painting by the artist Télémaque, to Chinese works from the Ming period and Art Deco pieces created by Daum, Pierre and

Ill. 3. Portrait of a woman, Roman, early 2nd century AD,

Anne-Marie Moussa expertly collected an eclectic

marble, H.: 70 cm. Petworth House, Sussex.

group of artworks, a testament to their French

Ill. 4. Portrait of a stranger, Roman, AD 120-130, marble,

brand of refinement.

H.: 28 cm. Musée du Louvre, Paris, inv. no. MA4882.

Their portraits were inspired by imperial portraits. The hairstyle with which our citizen is represented is similar, for example, to that of Matidia Minor, sister-in-law of the Emperor Hadrian, in one of her portraits, conserved at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (Ill. 1). The young woman, like the one in our portrait, has a large chignon made up of rows of plaited locks. However, our portrait is older, as the pupils of the eyes are not yet chiselled, a technique that developed around AD 130. Another imperial portrait, that of Empress Sabina, conserved at Vaison-la-Romaine, is also a magnificent example of a portrait featuring this plaited chignon (Ill. 2). Yet more women’s portraits, conserved at Petworth

Ill. 5. Certificat of the Simone de Monbrison gallery.


TORSO OF DIONYSUS ROMAN, 1 S T -2 ND CENTURY AD

MARBLE SMALL RESTORATIONS

HEIGHT: 94 CM.

WIDTH: 40 CM.

DEPTH: 28 CM.

PROVENANCE: FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF BARON LÉON DE SOMZÉE (1837-1901), FROM AT LEAST 1897. SOLD BY J. FIEVEZ, COLLECTIONS DE SOMZÉE ( “SOMZÉE COLLECTIONS”), 24 MAY 1904, BRUSSELS, LOT NO. 23. SOLD BY J. FIEVEZ, COLLECTION DE MRS. DE SOMZÉE (“COLLECTION OF MRS DE SOMZÉE”), BRUSSELS, 27-29 MAY 1907, LOT NO. 278. THEN IN A PARISIAN PRIVATE COLLECTION AT 102 RUE DE LA TOUR, 16 TH ARRONDISSEMENT, PARIS.

This elegant white marble sculpture represents a

folds, giving an illusion of thickness and matter, a

young man in heroic nudity. His torso is slender,

testament to the sculptor’s technical prowess.

his thighs slim and extended and his muscles

The young man is standing in the position known

slightly prominent. Unlike the torsos of men with

as contrapposto. The weight of his body is

pronounced muscles, our torso displays delicately

supported by his left leg, while the right is slightly

sculpted abdominal lines, which give an impression

flexed, creating a particular sway of the hips. The

of youth. He is wearing a fold of his chlamys over his

inclined line of the hips is balanced out by the line

left shoulder and down his back. Part of the garment

of the shoulders, which gives the body an ‘S’ shape

would probably have been wrapped around his

and creates a certain impression of movement.

right arm. The drapery is lined with relatively deep

This position was invented by the Greek sculptor


Polyclitus in the 5th century BC. His sculptures

Zeus promised her he would grant her anything

that best display this position are the “Diadumenos”

she desired. The jealous Hera prompted Semele

(“Man Tying on a Fillet”- Ill. 1) and “Doryphoros”

to ask the god to reveal himself in all his divinity.

(“Spear Bearer”). Contrapposto is thus the result of

The potent vision of Zeus killed her instantly. Zeus

his research into the ideal proportions of the human

managed to save the child and hide him in his thigh

body. It marked the transition between the very

until his birth. The newborn was then entrusted

rigid archaic sculpture and classical sculpture. This

to the nymphs of the region of Nysa, who brought

position was widely taken up over the following

him up. As the god of vines, he was associated with

centuries by Greek and then Roman sculptors to

luxuriant vegetation, regeneration, and wine and

represent heroes, deities, emperors and dignitaries.

its excesses. Dionysus is a deity with two faces,

In this kind of iconography, the balance of the

one benevolent and pleasant and the other brutal

sculpture is ensured by another feature, generally a

and wild. According to legend, he brought alcohol

tree trunk, positioned to the side, as shown by the

and its ambivalent effects to the various lands of the

fixture marks that are still visible on the right leg.

Empire with his suite of maenads and satyrs.

Ill. 3. Dionysus, Roman, 1st century AD, marble, H.: 144 cm. Ill. 1. “Diadumenos”, Roman, 1st century AD, marble, H.: 145 cm. British Museum, London, inv. no. GR 1864.10-21.4. Ill. 2. Statue of Dionysus, Greek, 2nd century BC, marble, H.: 75.5 cm. Antikensammlung museum, Berlin,

Galleria Chiaramonti, Vatican museums, inv. no. 1934. Ill. 4. Statue of Dionysus, Roman, Antonine period, marble, H.: 79 cm. Museo Gregoriano Profano, Vatican museums, inv. no. 10402.

inv. no. Sk1532.

The particular position of the drapery used in our Although there are no identifying attributes,

sculpture of Dionysus mirrors that of a statuette

our sculpture probably represents Dionysus, or

of the god conserved at the Antikensammlung

Bacchus for the Romans. According to Ovid’s

museum in Berlin (Ill. 2). As for our torso, the

Metamorphoses, Dionysus was the son of Zeus and

god is represented in the contrapposto position

the mortal Semele. When Semele was pregnant,

with a drapery over his left shoulder, falling


diagonally across his back, then twining around his right arm. This characteristic position of the drapery is the same in two other sculptures representing Dionysus, conserved at the Vatican museums (Ill. 3-4). Our male torso belonged to Baron Léon de Somzée

(1837-1901),

a

Belgian

businessman

specialising in gas exploitation (Ill. 5). A major art enthusiast, throughout his life, he acquired numerous sculptures during his journeys in Italy and regularly lent his works to institutions for

temporary

exhibitions.

Our

torso

was

Ill. 5. Léon de Somzée (1837-1901).

listed by Furtwängler in his inventory of Somzée’s collection in 1897 (Ill. 6). Upon his death, our torso was first put up for sale in 1904 (Ill. 7). This sale, organised by the auctioneer Mr Fievez, in concert with Somzée’s heirs, included the baron’s entire collection. On that occasion, a vast part went to the collections owned by Belgium, while other works were disseminated throughout the rest of the world. There was a second sale of his wife’s collection upon her death in 1907, when our torso was sold as lot no. 278. Finally, it was catalogued by Salomon Reinach in 1909 (Ill. 8).

Ill. 6. A. Furtwängler, Collection Somzée : Monuments d’art

antique (“Somzée Collection: Monuments of Antique Art”), Munich, 1897, p. 18, no. 23, Plate XV.


Ill. 7. Sale by J. Fievez, Collections de Somzée (“Somzée Collections”), 24 May 1904, Brussels, lot no. 23.

Ill. 8. S. Reinach, Répertoire de la statuaire grecque et

romaine (“Catalogue of Greek and Roman Statuary”), Paris, 1909, Book II, Vol. 2, p. 818, no. 7.

Publications: - A. Furtwängler, Collection Somzée : Monuments

d’art antique (“Somzée Collection: Monuments of Antique Art”), Munich, 1897, p. 18, no. 23, Plate XV. - S. Reinach, Répertoire de la statuaire grecque

et romaine (“Catalogue of Greek and Roman Statuary”), Paris, 1909, Book II, Vol. 2, p. 818, no. 7.


SHABTI IN THE NAME OF NEDJEM-IB EGYPTIAN, MIDDLE KINGDOM, E N D O F T HE 22 T H D YNASTY-BEG INNING OF THE 23 th DYNAS T Y , CA . 1 800-1 640 BC BROWN SERPENTINE

HEIGHT: 28 CM.

WIDTH: 7 CM.

DEPTH: 7 CM.

PROVENANCE: FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF RAPHAËL STORA (1886-1963), NEW YORK. THEN WITH JAMES E. LE PÈRE, 3 EAST THIRD STREET, NEW YORK. SOLD TO NORBERT CHOUCROUN (1925-1996), HOUSTON, ON 13 SEPTEMBER 1985. THEN IN THE COLLECTION OF WILL MCLENDON, HOUSTON.

This amazing sculpture carved from serpentine

deceased is wearing a straight, three piece wig,

stone is a shabti, one of the objects used

cascading over their shoulders in two sections

in Egyptian funerary rites. It represents a

and leaving their forehead and ears uncovered.

deceased person, standing and embalmed like

Our shabti is unusual in its features. The large,

a mummy. The arms are invisible but can be

almond-shaped eyes, enhanced by a make-up

made out beneath the shroud through a play

line, draw attention to the round face. The nose

of volumes skilfully crafted by the sculptor.

is wide and surmounts a mouth with rather

They are crossed on the figure’s chest, in the

thick lips. The particularly pronounced smile

position typical of mummies. The feet are

brings out prominent cheekbones, which make

also invisible, wrapped in the fabric. The

our sculpture very expressive. The last features


characterising our face are the two large,

one shabti was left per deceased person, but

delicately sculpted ears, standing out from the

later, it was legions. For instance, a group

wig. Finally, the statuette is decorated with a

of 209 ushabtis inscribed with the name of a

vertical, partly legible line of hieroglyphs giving

single person are conserved at the Louvre-Lens

the name of the deceased: “Nedjem-Ib”.

Museum (Ill. 5).

Shabtis were funerary statuettes that were renamed ushabtis in the Early Period. They started to be placed in tombs during the Middle Kingdom, when a new concept of life and death emerged. After his life on Earth, Man came to the afterlife, a paradisal agricultural world governed by Osiris, the main deity of the Egyptian pantheon. In that world, all the deceased had to perform various tasks

Ill. 1. Shabti, Egyptian, 12th-18th Dynasty, granodiorite, H.: 18 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York,

to satisfy their needs, regardless of status or

inv. no. 20.2.7.

rank. Rich citizens thus had shabtis created,

Ill. 2. Shabti, Egyptian, 12th-13th Dynasty, schist, H.: 12.5 cm.

personal substitutes that could carry out these tasks in their place. The perfect representations

Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Holland, inv. no. F1971/7.1. Ill. 3. Shabti, Egyptian, 13th Dynasty, schist, H.: 23 cm. Formerly in the collection of W. Arnold Meijer.

of mummies, these statuettes represent the deceased in a shroud, arms invisible with only the head in sight. Nevertheless, over the centuries, the hands were more and more visible, until they were ultimately represented outside the shroud, holding objects useful for the agricultural tasks that awaited them in the afterlife. Initially devoid of any inscriptions, texts were eventually engraved either to identify the deceased or to make an offering to Osiris. Gorgeous examples resembling our shabti are conserved in private collections and international museums (Ill. 1-4). Finally, over the dynasties, shabtis were more and more frequently placed in tombs. Initially,

Ill. 4. Shabti, Egyptian, 12th-13th Dynasty, granodiorite, H.: 28 cm. Former German private collection. Ill. 5. Ushabtis in the name of Neferibreheb, Egyptian, 500 BC, faience. Musée du Louvre, Paris, inv. no. N3459


In terms of their materials, shabtis and then

Will McLendon, a friend of Norbert Choucroun’s,

ushabtis could be made of painted wood, faience

who had his possessions evaluated upon his death

or hard stone. Our item is sculpted in serpentine

in 1996.

stone, with delicate brown glints, giving it a unique aura. This stone, known to have been used in Egyptian statuary, was nevertheless very seldom used in shabti art, which makes our item a rare example of its type. Our statuette is also exceptional in its dimensions. Shabtis are generally small objects, seldom exceeding 20 cm. The height of our sculpture and the fine facial features make it a beautiful artwork, a perfect example of the tradition of Egyptian funerary statuettes, which persisted until the Ptolemaic period.

This shabti was initially part of the collection of

Ill. 6. Photography of our shabti in Mr Stora’s stock, inv. no. C-57-6.

Raphaël Stora (1886-1963). He and his brother Maurice were art dealers, particularly specialising in antiquities in their Parisian boutique in Boulevard Hausmann, before they opened a new branch in New York. A very fine photograph shows our sculpture among the Stora brothers’ stock with the inventory number C-57-6 (Ill. 6). The ‘C’ in front of the number seems to imply that our work was placed (“consigné ” in French) with Mr Stora by its actual owner so he could sell it for them. The statuette then joined the collection of the New York galerist James E. Le Père, whose boutique was located at 3 East Third Street. It was acquired by Norbert Choucroun (1925-1996) on 13 September 1985 and conserved with his other artworks at his home in Houston, Texas (Ill. 7). Finally, the shabti was added to the collection of

Ill. 7. Our shabti in Mr Choucroun’s home.


APHRODITE THE SO-CALLED VENUS GENITRIX ROMA N, 1 S T CENTU RY A D

MARBLE

HEIGHT: 125 CM.

WIDTH: 38 CM.

DEPTH: 36 CM.

PROVENANCE: FORMERLY IN THE PAMPHILJ COLLECTION, IN THE GARDENS OF VILLA PAMPHILJ IN ROME, FROM AT LEAST THE SECOND HALF OF THE 17 TH CENTURY, RESTORED AS EUTERPE. REPORTED IN THE SAME COLLECTION IN 1850. THEN, IN THE FRENCH PRIVATE COLLECTION OF DR B. AND MR C., SOLD BY THE LAIR-DUBREUIL AUCTION HOUSE, PARIS, 19 MAY 1910, LOT NO. 39. IN A FRENCH PRIVATE COLLECTION SINCE THEN.

This splendid sculpture of a woman is striking in

stomach are thus perfectly discernible. Her legs

its sensuality and the realistic representation of

emerge from the draped garment, separated by

her figure. Slightly smaller than life, the woman

long, vertical folds, and their shape is underlined

is dressed in a thin himation. Its complex array of

by an intricate set of curved folds. Her right leg is

folds, which follow the curves of her body, reveals

set back slightly, giving her hips a swaying motion

more than it covers. Under the delicate, transparent

in an elegant contrapposto. The heavier fabric of

fabric, her voluptuous bosom, navel and sensual

the chiton covered her shoulders, now gone, falling


in vertical folds over her left arm and contrasting with the folds of the ‘wet’ drapery, thus creating a perfect balance in the composition. The back of the sculpture, covered by the folds of the chiton, shows less exquisite craftsmanship, which tells us that this sculpture was intended to be admired from the front. Its arms are now missing, but thanks to many replicas of the same statuary type, we can identify Aphrodite, goddess of beauty and love. Bronze and

Ill. 3. Venus Genitrix, Roman, 2nd century AD, marble, H.: 97.7 cm. J. P. Getty Museum, Los Angeles, inv. no. 96.AA.213.

terracotta statuettes (Ill. 1) show us that she would

Ill. 4. Venus Genitrix, Roman, marble, found on the Esquiline

have raised a fold of her chiton above her right

Hill. Centrale Montemartini, Rome, inv. no. MC1078.

shoulder, while her left hand, extended towards the viewer, held the golden apple of discord, whereby

Ill. 5. Statue of Aphrodite, the so-called Venus Genitrix, Roman, 1st-2nd century AD, marble, H.: 151.1 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, inv. no. 32.11.3.

Paris proclaimed Aphrodite to be more beautiful than the other goddesses.

The Greek original that inspired these copies

In the modern era, the most famous work of this type

is often attributed to the Athenian sculptor

was restored according to that same iconography

Callimachus and dated to about 400 BC. Opinions

(Ill. 2). As this sculpture was extremely popular in

diverge on whether the original was made of bronze

the Graeco-Roman world, it has many copies such

or marble. We know little of Callimachus, only

as those conserved at the J. P. Getty Museum in

that he worked in Athens around the time when

Los Angeles (Ill. 3), Centrale Montemartini in

the Acropolis was nearing completion. He is said

Rome (Ill. 4) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art

to have contributed to the sculptures in the temple

in New York (Ill. 5).

of Athena Nike. The sculpture of Nike adjusting her sandal, mounted on the parapet of the temple, closely resembles our sculpture, with its wet drapery effect and the rounded folds over the goddess’ thighs (Ill. 6). Vitruvius credited him with the invention of Corinthian capitals and spoke of “the elegance and delicacy of his chisel” when

Ill. 1. Terracotta and bronze statuettes representing Aphrodite

referring to his art as a sculptor (De Architectura,

of the Genitrix type. Musée du Louvre, Paris.

Book IV, 1). Dionysius of Halicarnassus compared

Ill. 2. Aphrodite known as “Venus Genitrix”, Roman, late 1st century - early 2nd century AD, Parian marble, H.: 164 cm. Musée du Louvre, Paris, inv. no. MR 367.

his style to that of the orator Lysias “because of his finesse and grace”. With this sculpture of


Aphrodite, Callimachus displayed a perfect blend

Callimachus’ Aphrodite was extremely popular in

of the classical balance theorised by Polyclitus

Antiquity, as shown by the many copies that still

and the more precious and mannerist style that

exist today. It was so popular that Julius Caesar

developed on the site of the Acropolis, that can

apparently asked the sculptor Arcesilaus to craft

also be found in the sculptures of Diana, Hestia

a terracotta copy for the temple he dedicated to

and Aphrodite adorning the east pediment of the

Venus Genitrix, the “ancestral mother”, in 46 BC.

Parthenon (Ill. 7).

The temple and sculpture stood in his new forum in Rome (Ill. 8). Julius Caesar and the emperors who came after him claimed to descend from the Trojan hero Aeneas, son of Aphrodite, the Venus of the Latin people. They thus established a cult to her. In AD 137, coins bearing the effigy of Sabina, wife of Hadrian, also featured a representation of Venus Genitrix, based on the same model as our sculpture

Ill. 6. “Nike Adjusting her Sandal”, frieze that encircled the temple of Athena Nike, southern side, Greek, ca. 420-410 BC,

(Ill. 9).

marble. Acropolis Museum, Athens, inv. no. 973.

Our sculpture was located in Rome, in the gardens

Ill. 7. Hestia, Diana and Aphrodite, figures K, L and M of

of Villa Pamphilj, from the second half of the

the east pediment of the Parthenon, Greek, ca. 447-433 BC,

17 th century. There is a print representing the

marble, W.: 130 cm. British Museum, London.

sculpture, restored as Euterpe, Muse of music, holding a flute in each hand, in a book by Giovanni G. de Rossi (Ill. 10). Villa Pamphilj is a Roman palace dating back to the 16th century. It belonged to the Della Rovere family and then, at the beginning of the 17 th century, the Aldobrandini family. It then passed to the Pamphiljs in 1647, when Olimpia Aldobrandini wed Camillo Pamphilj. It is

Ill. 8. Ruins of the temple of Venus Genitrix, in Caesar’s forum in Rome. Ill. 9. Denarius with on the back, Venus Genitrix with the inscription “VENERI GENETRICI”, silver, 3.46 gr.

unknown when the sculpture came to adorn the gardens of the palace.


In Volume 4 of his Musée de Sculpture antique

et moderne (“Museum of antique and modern sculpture”), the Comte de Clarac described it, in these gardens, in 1850. He recognised, in the statue of Euterpe, a Venus Genitrix, and commented that the head, the top of the bosom, the arms, the flutes, the lower part of the drapery and the feet were modern restorations (Ill. 11). Our sculpture then resurfaced in Paris in 1910, when Dr B. and Mr C.’s collection was sold by the Lair-Dubreuil auction house (Ill. 12). At that time, it was completely divested of its modern additions, except for the lower part of the drapery and the feet (Ill. 13). Sold as lot no. 39 of that sale on 19 May 1910, it was then added to another French private collection, in which it

Ill. 11. Comte de Clarac, Musée de sculpture antique et

remained throughout the 20th century until the

moderne (“Museum of antique and modern sculpture”),

present day.

Vol. 4, Paris, 1850, p. 72, no. 1288b, Plate 632c.

Ill. 10. Our Aphrodite, restored as Euterpe, in Giovanni G. de Rossi, Villa Pamphilia [...] (“Villa Pamphilj ...), Rome, s. a. [1650/1700], Plate 4 (Euterpe. Dulci loquis calamos Euterpe flatibus urget). Ill. 12. Sales catalogue for the collection of Dr B. eand of Mr C., Lair-Dubreuil auction house, 19 May 1910, lot 39.


Publications: - G. G. de Rossi, Villa Pamphilia eiusque palatium

cum suis prospectibus, statuae, fontes, vivaria, theatra, areolae, plantarum, viarumque ordines (“Villa Pamphilj and its palace with its perspectives, statues, fountains, parks, theatres and array of courtyards, plants and paths”),

Rome, s. a.

[1650/1700], Plate 4 (“Euterpe. Dulci loquis calamos Euterpe flatibus urget”). - Comte de Clarac, Musée de sculpture antique

et moderne (“Museum of antique and modern Ill. 13. S. Reinach, Répertoire de la statuaire grecque et

sculpture”), Vol. 4, Paris, 1850, p. 72, no. 1288b,

romaine (“Catalogue of Greek and Roman statuary”),

Plate 632c.

Vol. 4, Paris, 1910, p. 198, no. 4.

- J. J. Bernoulli, Aphrodite (“Aphrodite) Leipzig, 1873, p. 87, no. 4. - S. Reinach, Répertoire de la statuaire grecque

et romaine (“Catalogue of Greek and Roman Statuary”), Vol. 1, Paris, 1897, p. 342, no. 3. - S. Reinach, Répertoire de la statuaire grecque

et romaine (“Catalogue of Greek and Roman Statuary”), Vol. 4, Paris, 1910, p. 198, no. 4. - R. Calza, ed., Antichità di Villa Doria Pamphilj (“Antiques of Villa Doria Pamphilj”), Rome, 1977, p. 43, no. 10, Plate 9 (according to G. G. de Rossi). - M. Brinke, Kopienkritische und typologische

Untersuchungen zur statuarischen Überlieferung der Aphrodite Typus Louvre-Neapel (“Critical and typological investigation of the statuary tradition of the Louvre-Naples type of Aphrodite”), Hamburg, 1991, p. 171f., no. G44, and p. 202, no. G102.


HEAD OF HERCULES ROMAN, 1 S T -2 ND CE NTU RY A D

MARBLE UPPER LIP RESTORED

HEIGHT: 36 CM.

WIDTH: 29 CM.

DEPTH: 26 CM.

PROVENANCE: FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF CARDINAL A. PERETTI DI MONTALTO (1571-1623), VILLA MONTALTO, ROME. THEN AT CHÂTEAU DE MARTINVAST, FRANCE; PROBABLY ACQUIRED BY BARON ARTHUR DE SCHICKLER (1828-1919). THEN PASSED DOWN AS AN HEIRLOOM.

This imposing marble head represents the

openings and the animal’s ears. Finally, the majestic

demi-god Hercules wearing the skin of the

mane is crafted on the back of Hercules’ head,

Nemean lion. Hercules, son of Zeus and his lover

through subtle curls of different thickness, giving it

Alcmene, appears young, with a broad neck, square

an impression of matter and displaying the artist’s

jaw and straight nose. His chin is tilted upwards,

incredible dexterity.

his gaze powerful. Large eyes and prominent brow

Through a drawing in the Codex Montalto, a

lines give our portrait considerable poise. His hair is

work listing the sculptures in the collection of

wavy, tucked behind his ears, while thick sideburns

Cardinal A. Peretti di Montalto, we know that

frame his jaw. Hercules is wearing the skin of the

our head was once part of a larger sculpture

Nemean lion as a helmet. Mouth open, the teeth are

(Ill. 1). Then, Hercules was represented standing, in

delicately represented over his forehead. The skin

heroic nudity, wearing the skin of the Nemean lion

of the neck falls gently down the nape of Hercules’

tied across his shoulders, one fold entwined around

neck. On his head is represented the muzzle, the eye

his left arm. In his right hand, he held his olive wood


club, while in his left, he carried the apples of the

only a true hero could accomplish. The first was to

Hesperides, two of his main attributes. In a sway

kill the Nemean lion, a monstrous animal with an

of the hips commonly known as contrapposto, his

invulnerable skin that was terrorising the people of

left leg was flexed while the right was straight,

Nemea, in the valley of the Peloponnese. To kill it,

bearing the weight of the entire body. The balance

Hercules first released several arrows, in vain. He

of the sculpture was ensured by a tree trunk against

then attacked the animal with his sword and failed

which the demi-god was leaning.

again. In the forest, he crafted a club with an olive branch to knock the lion out, but, once again, he was unsuccessful. Finally, having found the beast’s cave, Hercules blocked one entrance and laid in wait. He then strangled it with his bare hands, suffocated it and used its own claws to skin it. Proud of his son, Zeus then created the constellation of Leo. Emerging victorious from his first labour, Hercules then slipped on the lion skin, granting him great protective powers. The demi-god was frequently represented over the centuries in heroic nudity, wearing only the lion skin as a helmet, tied around his shoulders,

Ill. 1. Codex Montalto, 1615-1655, folio 26.

or simply lying near him. A magnificent example currently conserved at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

The skin of the Nemean lion is a reference to the

in Copenhagen represents Hercules standing, in

first of the twelve labours of Hercules. According

contrapposto, wearing the Nemean lion skin on his

to Hesiod, Juno, jealous of the affair her husband,

head (Ill. 2). Another portrait of the demi-god with

Zeus, had had with Hercules’ mother, took her

the lion skin is conserved at the Antikensammlung,

vengeance by driving the young demi-god insane.

the museum of antiquities in Berlin (Ill. 3). Hercules’

Consumed by madness, Hercules killed his wife

image was also widely used in official portraits

and children. To expiate his crime, Juno placed him

throughout the centuries. Represented with the

under the orders of his enemy, Eurystheus. Jealous

attributes of Hercules, particularly the lion skin

of Hercules’ strength and afraid that he would

and club, sovereigns thus showed their power and

take his place on the throne of Argos, Eurystheus

physical strength. From the Hellenistic era, kings

ordered him to carry out twelve titanic labours that

such as Alexander the Great and Mithridates VI


to

the

drawing

in

the

Codex

Eupator had themselves represented as Hercules.

According

Significant examples are currently conserved at the

Montalto, our head of Hercules belonged to the

Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the

collection of Cardinal Alessandro Damasceni

Louvre museum in Paris (Ill. 4-5).

Peretti di Montalto (1571-1623), great nephew of Pope Sixtus V. It was probably conserved in Villa Montalto in Rome, a dwelling that the pope had built on the heights of Quirinal Hill, at the site of the current Roma Termini train station. Amidst the vines stood the villa, which harboured a fabulous collection of sculptures and various artworks, some pieces of which are now conserved in the most renowned museums in the world. The

Ill. 2. Hercules (detail), Roman, 1st-2nd century AD, marble,

dwelling was destroyed in the 19th century.

H.: 167 cm. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, inv. no. 484. Ill. 3. Hercules, Roman, 2nd century AD, marble, H.: 34 cm. Antikensammlung Museum, Berlin, inv. no. 188.

Villa Montalto.

Our sculpture was also part of the SchicklerIll. 4. Alexander the Great as Hercules, Greek, Hellenistic,

Pourtalès collection, housed at the Château

4th-3rd century BC, marble. Metropolitan Museum of Art,

de

New York (on loan), inv. no. L.2014.62.3.

Martinvast

in

the

Cotentin

Peninsula,

Ill. 5. Mithridates VI Eupator, Roman, 1st century AD, marble,

France. The château, dating back to the

H.: 35 cm. Musée du Louvre, Paris, inv. no. Ma 2321.

Middle Ages, was acquired by Baron Arthur de Schickler (1828-1919), banker of the Prussian royal family. The Schickler dynasty, originally from Switzerland, settled in France during the Bourbon Restoration. Baron Arthur de Schickler bought the Château de Martinvast in 1867 and accumulated a


magnificent collection of pieces, each more varied than the last, from France, Italy and Germany. The eclectic collection contained archaeological items of prestigious provenance, 16th century tapestries and even portraits by Horace Vernet. The baron’s daughter, Marguerite de Schickler, married Count Hubert de Pourtalès, member of the Protestant aristocracy and grandson of Count James de Pourtalès-Gorgier, Chamberlain of the King of Prussia and owner of one of the most gorgeous collections of antiques and paintings of his time. Hubert and Marguerite de Schickler-Pourtalès and their descendants followed in the footsteps of their ancestors. Probably acquired by Baron Arthur de Schickler, our sculpture thus remained in the fabulous Château de Martinvast for over a century.

Château de Martinvast, 1880.


FRAGMENT OF A FUNERARY STELE GREEK, ATTIC, 4 T H CENTU RY BC

MARBLE

HEIGHT: 66 CM.

WIDTH: 35 CM.

DEPTH: 20 CM.

PROVENANCE: FORMERLY IN A FRENCH PRIVATE COLLECTION. PASSED DOWN WITHIN THE SAME FAMILY FROM THE 1950S.

This beautiful fragment of a bas-relief portrays a

is short and curly, baring his face and neck. His

man in a seated position. He is wearing a himation,

expression is absolutely serene, and despite the

the traditional Greek garment, which is draped

lifelike appearance of the modelled flesh, this feels

around his body, covering his shoulders and right

like an idealised portrait.

arm. There are triangular folds over his torso, and our figure is catching the folds that are slipping due

By its format and style, we are able to recognise

to his seated position with his left arm. The relief

in this fragment an Athenian funerary stele from

of the clothing contrasts with the bared left arm,

the Classical period. These bas-relief sculptures

which comes out of the frame towards us, before

marked the placement of graves and were used for

resting on his thighs. The man’s face is uplifted,

the offerings and cult given to the deceased, whom

gazing at a point towards the fragmentary left side

they recalled by their name and image. These steles

of the relief. He has a classical Athenian face, with

emerged as early as the Archaic period and were

a round, heavy chin, full lips, round cheeks and

originally high and narrow, often surmounted by a

large eyes framed by prominent eyelids. His hair

sphinx or a decorative palmette. The deceased were


represented standing, in relief or simply engraved or

Our fragment is perfectly in line with this tradition.

painted (Ill. 1). In the 5th century BC, tastes evolved,

Our man is resting his back against the remainder

bringing about larger steles that took the form of a

of the right pilaster of the naiskos in which he was

naiskos, or small temple surrounded by pilasters and

housed. The direction of his face tells us that at

surmounted by a pediment (Ill. 2). The larger space

least one other person was next to him, and he was

made it possible to represent the deceased sitting.

favouring them with a farewell glance. The deceased

Over time, these steles became larger and larger,

is often the person represented seated, exchanging a

and from the 4th century BC, whole family groups

handshake with a living family member. The gesture

were sculpted in relief (Ill. 3).

symbolised both a farewell and the link that persists after death. By observing the position of the arms on our fragment, we can guess that it portrayed that very gesture. Complete steles show handshakes that place the arms in the same position as that of our figure’s (Ill. 4). In this farewell scene, the expression of pain is discreet, but our sculpture is imbued with melancholy. These same codes and atmosphere

Ill. 1. Stele (grave marker) of a youth and little girl, Greek, Attic,

ca. 530 BC, marble, H.: 423.4 cm. Metropolitan Museum of

can be observed in many Attic steles from the 4th century BC (Ill. 5-7).

Art, New York, inv. no. 11.185a-d,f,g,x. Ill. 2. Stele of Hegeso, Kerameikos cemetery, Athens,

ca. 410-400 BC, marble, H.: 149 cm. National Archaeological Museum, Athens, inv. no. 3624.

Ill. 5. Funerary stele with a man and a seated woman, Greek, Attic, marble, H.: 107 cm. Musée d’A rchéologie Méditerranéenne, Marseille. Ill. 6. Fragmentary funerary stele, Greek, Attic, ca. 340 BC, marble, H.: 55.8 cm. Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ill. 3. Stele (grave marker) of Lysistrate, Greek, Attic,

inv. no. 948.229.2

ca. 350-325 BC, marble, H.: 113.7 cm. Metropolitan Museum of

Ill. 7. Funerary stele, Greek, Attic, ca. 330 BC, marble,

Art, New York, inv. no. 06.287.

H.: 98 cm. J. P. Getty Museum, Los Angeles, inv. no. 73.AA.122.

Ill. 4. Funerary stele of Thraseas and Euandria, Greek, Attic,

ca. 340-350 BC, marble, H.: 160 cm. Antikensammlung Pergamonmuseum, Berlin, inv. no. Sk738.


Our sculpture is made of a white, rather translucent marble, with average sized crystals. It is very likely Pentelic marble, which was traditionally used in Athens. The marble is covered by a pink hued deposit, a testament to its long sojourn beneath the earth. Combined with its fragmentary aspect, this gorgeous patina tells of the passing of time and the long history of the sculpture, part of a French private collection from the 1950s.


TORSO OF HATHOR E GYP T IAN, NEW KINGDOM, 1 8 T H DYNA STY, CA . 1 550-1 292 BC

GRANODIORITE

HEIGHT: 50 CM.

WIDTH: 35 CM.

DEPTH: 27 CM.

PROVENANCE: WITH THE ART DEALER R. JACQUEROD, ZURICH. ACQUIRED BY WERNER CONINX (1911-1980), ZURICH, FROM THE ABOVE ON 2 JULY 1952. THEN CONSERVED AT THE CONINX MUSEUM, ZURICH, FROM 1986. WITH FORGE & LYNCH, LONDON, BEFORE 2002, THEN WITH RUPERT WACE ANCIENT ART, LONDON, IN 2003. THEN IN A LADY’S PRIVATE COLLECTION, ROME, ACQUIRED BEFORE 2004.

This magnificent granodiorite torso represents the

delicately sculpted breasts jut from her chest. Her

goddess Hathor, the most important deity of the

bust is marked with fine incisions representing

Egyptian pantheon, whose name means “cosmic

what could be a menat necklace, one of the goddess’

domain of Horus”. Wife of Horus, she was originally

most important attributes. The menat necklace,

the goddess of the sky and Mother Goddess. She

made of beads and small counterpoises, was an

was also known as the goddess of love, music and joy,

artefact protecting against bad luck. It could also be

presiding over dances and banquets. In Egyptian

held in the hand and used as a musical instrument,

iconography, Hathor was represented either as a

as demonstrated by the priests in Hathor’s temples.

cow or a woman with cow ears, with horns framing

Hathor is also wearing delicately carved bracelets

a solar disc. Our torso represents here the goddess

at the top of her arms, consisting of vertical lines

as a woman. Fragment of a larger sculpture, she was

framed by two horizontal strips. Two thick curtains

represented from head to toe, arms resting along

of hair remain of her hairstyle, cascading over her

her sides or hands on her thighs. Small, round,

shoulders. The strands are stylised through fine


vertical lines delicately carved in the stone while,

The cult of Hathor developed over the centuries,

behind, her hair falls over her shoulder blades.

particularly in the royal sphere, where she played the

The goddess’ back bears a scroll with an engraving

role of nurse of the pharaohs. In the private sphere,

meaning “Hathor, mistress of the sky and sovereign

she was worshipped as “mistress of the West”,

[of all the gods]”. This inscription recalls the

welcoming the deceased to their new existence

goddess’ status as main deity of the Egyptian

in the afterlife. She was mainly worshipped by

pantheon.

women because of her triple role as wife, mother and lover. Her cult became so widespread that

Our exquisitely fine sculpture could be compared

many representations of her developed in various

to two important works conserved at the museum

art forms. In the field of religion, sistra, musical

in Luxor, Egypt and the Egyptian Museum in

instruments, emerged. They served to appease the

Turin, Italy. Also dated to the New Kingdom,

goddess during religious ceremonies. Sistra were

they represent the goddess Hathor in her womanly

shaped like rattles and essentially decorated with

guise, carrying the solar disc between her two

a portrait of the cow eared Hathor wearing the

horns. As in our sculpture, she is wearing a wig and

menat necklace and a wig with two large sections

various pieces of exquisitely carved jewellery, again

of hair cascading over her shoulders. A magnificent

showing the great dexterity of the artists of the time

example of a sistrum is currently conserved at the

(Ill. 1-2).

Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (Ill. 3). In the field of architecture, the goddess inspired the creation of Hathor capitals. This specific type of capital represents Hathor’s face from the front, with cow ears and her emblematic hairstyle. Decorating two or four faces of the capital, this particular style referred to her status as cosmic goddess governing the world, face turned to all four cardinal points. The most prestigious examples of Hathor capitals are those of the temple of Hathor in Dendera, Egypt (Ill. 4-5).

Ill. 1. Hathor, Egyptian, New Kingdom, 19th dynasty, granodiorite, H.: 154 cm. Luxor Museum, Luxor.

The importance of our sculpture is also highlighted

Ill. 2. Hathor, Egyptian, New Kingdom, 18th dynasty, basalt.

by its very material – granodiorite. The dark stone,

Museo Egizio, Turin, inv. no. C.0694.

with its grey and white hues, was widely used in Pharaonic Egypt. It was a particularly hard stone,


the use of which is an additional testament to the

Our sculpture was sold by the Zurich art dealer

artist’s dexterity. The artist was able to finely

R. Jacquerod to Werner Coninx (1911-1980)

sculpt the lines of the wig, as well as the jewellery

on 2 July 1952. Coninx was a painter and art

adorning the goddess’ arms and neck. This unique

collector. After his death, our torso and all his

stone was used over the centuries for various

collection was conserved at Coninx Museum in

representations of deities (Ill. 6), public figures

Zurich. Established in the old house of Coninx,

and even, centuries later, the renowned Rosetta

from 1986, the museum was home: to nearly

Stone (Ill. 7).

14,000 works from the artist’s private collection. Our torso was exhibited alongside tribal African sculptures and paintings by Old Masters and Swiss artists from the 19th and 20th centuries. It then joined the stock of two English art dealers before settling in Rome as part of a lady’s private collection from 2004.

Ill. 3. Naos sistrum with the name of Apries, Egyptian, Saite period, faience, H.: 34.7 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, inv. no. 17.190.1959. Ill. 4-5. Hathor capitals in the temple of Hathor, Egyptian, Ptolemaic period, Dendera.

Ill. 6. Statue of the Goddess Sakhmet, Egyptian, New Kingdom, granodiorite, H.: 210 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, inv. no. 15.8.2. Ill. 7. Rosetta Stone,

Egyptian,

Ptolemaic period,

granodiorite, L: 112.3 cm. British Museum, London, inv. no. EA24.


BUST OF A JULIOCLAUDIAN PRINCESS ROMAN, JULIO-CL A UDIA N PERIOD, 1 S T CENTU RY A D

MARBLE NOSE, PART OF THE CHIGNON, NECK AND PEDESTAL FROM THE 18 TH CENTURY

HEIGHT: 73 CM.

WIDTH: 45 CM.

DEPTH: 26 CM.

PROVENANCE: FORMER EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION SINCE THE LATE 18 TH CENTURY, BASED ON THE RESTORATION TECHNIQUE. FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF A DOCTOR, TOURCOING, NORTHERN FRANCE, ACQUIRED IN 1970–1980. PASSED DOWN WITHIN THE SAME FAMILY.

This large bust represents a middle-aged woman.

as delicate as it is intricate. Her ears are left visible

Her oval-shaped face is emphasised by large,

while her wavy hair, pulled back, is separated on top

deeply carved, almond-shaped eyes, surmounted by

of her head by a central parting. Two plaits finally

delicately arched eyebrows, which create a subtle

meet at the nape of her neck, forming a double link

contrast with her eyes. Her fine features draw

for the chignon, which is made up of four plaits. A

attention to her long nose, restored later, and fine,

few dainty curls have escaped from it.

close lipped mouth. The few wrinkles lining her face

This head is set onto a Roman period bust dressed

add a touch of originality to the bust, indicating that

in a drapery with long folds, recalling the stola, a

this Roman woman is middle-aged. Her face, with

long, feminine dress worn by Roman women.

its almost severe expression, is framed by a hairstyle

The pedestal, is from the 18th century and identifies


the model as Agrippina. While the portrait is

conserved at the Louvre Museum in Paris (Ill. 4).

similar to busts of the empress, it also resembles

Agrippina the Younger (AD 15-59), daughter of

the portraits of other princesses from the

Agrippina the Elder, was sister to Caligula, wife

Julio-Claudian dynasty such as Antonia the Younger

to Claudius and mother to Nero. Her portraits

and Agrippina the Elder. Antonia the Younger

are inspired by those of her mother, with the same,

(36 BC-AD 37) was the youngest daughter of

sometimes severe, shape of face, particularly for the

Mark Antony and Octavia, the favourite niece of

head conserved at the Louvre Museum in Paris

Augustus and the mother of Claudius. The statues

(Ill. 5). On a bronze sestertius struck during the

and busts in her image have hairstyles similar to that

reign of her brother Caligula and conserved at

of our bust, particularly with the detail of the four

the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Agrippina’s

plait chignon (Ill. 1), and an oval face with carved

hairstyle is practically identical to that of our

almond-shaped eyes and austere features, as in the

portrait, with curls escaping her chignon (Ill. 6).

portrait conserved at Villa Poppaea, Italy (Ill. 2).

Ill. 3. Bust of Agrippina the Elder, Roman, 1st century AD, marble, H.: 41 cm. Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Venice, Ill. 1. Portrait of Antonia the Younger, Roman, 1st century AD,

inv. no. 183.

marble, H.: 54 cm. Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Venice, inv. no. 243. Ill. 2. Head of Antonia the Younger, Roman, 1st century AD, marble, H.: 32.5 cm. Villa Poppaea, Torre Annunziata, inv. no. 71442.

Agrippina

the

Elder

(14

BC-AD

33)

was

granddaughter to emperor Augustus, wife to Germanicus and mother to Caligula. Her portraits show a middle aged woman, also with a hairstyle similar to that of our portrait (Ill. 3), and a face that is just as severe, as can be seen in the portrait

Ill. 4. Head of Agrippina the Elder, Roman, 1st century AD, marble, H.: 36 cm. MusĂŠe du Louvre, Paris, inv. no. MA 1271.


Ill. 5. Head of Agrippina the Younger, Roman, 1st century AD, marble, H.: 26 cm. Musée du Louvre, Paris, inv. no. MA 1232.

Ill. 7. Bust of a woman, Roman, 1st century AD, reign of Tiberius, marble, H.: 42.4 cm. Laténium, Neuchâtel, inv. no. 489.

Ill. 6. Sestertius with Agrippina, Roman, ca. AD 37-41, bronze, D.: 39 mm. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, inv. no. 35.221.

Thus, using these portraits, we can accurately date ours to the Julio-Claudian dynasty. It could represent one of these princesses, but it could also be the portrait of a woman of high society, whose features were sculpted to emulate those of women in the imperial family to show her lofty status. It was common for the aristocratic elite to imitate physical traits and hairstyles, and their portraits, arrayed within their dwellings, served to assert their social position and show their wealth. This was the case of the Dame of Avenches (Ill. 7). The portrait, dated to the reign of Tiberius during the Julio-Claudian dynasty, represents a young Roman woman whose hairstyle probably copied that of a princess or empress. It’s the same case for a portrait conserved in the Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn, where an unknow woman used some physical traits of a woman from the Julio-Claudian dynasty (ill. 8).

Ill. 8. Head of a woman, Roman, 1st century AD, marble, H.: 25 cm. Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn, inv. no. St. 3195.


FARNESE HERCULES ROMA N, 2 ND CENTU RY A D

MARBLE HEAD RESTORED IN THE 18 TH CENTURY

HEIGHT: 55 CM.

WIDTH: 21 CM.

DEPTH: 16 CM.

PROVENANCE: IN AN EUROPEAN COLLECTION FROM THE 18 TH CENTURY BASED ON THE RESTORATION TECHNIQUES. THEN IN AN AMERICAN PRIVATE COLLECTION FROM THE 1950S.

This statue of a middle-aged man in a resting

and ultimately devised this new position.

position depicts the demi-god Hercules in heroic

Although his head is modern, the craftsmanship

nudity. Its statuary type is that of the Farnese

is of high quality, reminiscent of late Hellenistic

Hercules.

creations. His face and thoughtful, serene expression

His left leg is forward, slightly flexed, while his

respect the codes for the representation of the demi-

supporting leg, the right, is tensed. The position

god in statues of this type (Ill. 1). Hercules is hiding

tilts his hips significantly, drawing attention to the

his right hand behind his back and, although it is

prominent muscles of our man’s torso. The inclined

now missing, based on the Farnese Hercules type,

line of his hips contrasts with the line of his shoulders,

we can imagine that he was once holding the apples

giving the body a pronounced ‘S’ shape. This

from the Garden of the Hesperides (Ill. 2). His left

position, also known as contrapposto, is a Greek

arm rests on a rocky mass – a club – cushioned

invention from the 5th century BC, introduced by

with the Nemean lionskin, his main attributes.

the sculptor Polyclitus. At the time, he was looking

The lionskin reflects the skill and agility of the

for the way to perfectly represent the human body

statue’s first sculptor. The fur, the tooth lined maw,


the eyes and the dangling paws are incredible in

The Farnese Hercules type, representing Hercules

their precision and the delicacy with which they

in heroic nudity, right arm behind his back, the

were executed. They add exceptional detail to the

apples from the Garden of the Hesperides in his

sculpture.

hand, and left arm resting on his lionskin covered club, was a representation that was much admired in Antiquity. It represents the moment in which the hero, tired after his twelve Labours, allowed himself a moment of rest, leaning on his club and bearing the symbols of his first and penultimate Labours. Our statue thus offers a visual summary of the hero’s journey.

Ill. 1. Statuette of Hercules resting, Greek, 3

rd

century BC

or Roman replica from the early imperial period, bronze,

The original model of this statue was created by the

H.: 42.5 cm. Musée du Louvre, Paris, inv. no BR 652.

Greek sculptor Lysippus of Sicyon, who practised

Ill. 2. Hercules resting, Roman, 1 -2

his craft in the late 4th century BC. This statue,

st

nd

century AD, marble,

H.: 121 cm. Galleria Spada, Rome, inv. no. 342.

which was originally made of bronze and is now lost, is known to us through its many copies, including

Hercules was the son of Zeus and one of his

colossal statues and statuettes replete with details

mistresses, Alcmene. From the moment he was

and emotion such as ours. With the Farnese

born, Hera, Zeus’ wife, made him the focal point

Hercules type, the sculptor placed the hero’s body

of her jealousy. One night, she sent two snakes to

in three dimensional space. To see the statue in

the cradle of the young Hercules to kill him, but,

its entirety and understand its story, the viewer

endowed with truly ‘Herculean’ strength, he killed

must walk around it, particularly to discover the

them with his bare hands. Years later, still obsessed

apples. Whether by its mystery or depth, our statue

with revenge, Hera drove Hercules mad. He killed

is intriguing. Many copies portray the Farnese

his wife, Megara, and his sons. Upon the order of the

type Hercules, the most famous of which is the

Pythia, to atone for his crimes, he placed himself in

Farnese Hercules from the eponymous collection

the service of his enemy, Eurystheus. He entrusted

that gave the statuary type its name, conserved at

Hercules with the renowned twelve Labours, the

the National Archaeological Museum in Naples

first of which was to kill the Nemean lion, which

(Ill. 3). Other examples of statuettes of the Farnese

had an invulnerable skin, and the eleventh of which

type Hercules are conserved in prestigious

was to bring back apples from the Garden of the

European museums such as the Musée Saint

Hesperides, guarded by Ladon, a serpent like

Raymond in Toulouse (Ill. 4) and the Agora

dragon with a hundred heads.

Museum in Athens (Ill. 5).


Ill. 3. Farnese Hercules, imperial period, marble, H.: 317 cm. Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples, inv. no. 6001. Ill. 4. Hercules resting, Roman, 2nd century AD, marble, H.: 62 cm. MusĂŠe Saint-Raymond, Toulouse, inv. no. RA. 115.

Ill. 5. Hercules resting, Roman, 3rd century AD, marble, H.: 37.1 cm. Agora Museum, Athens, inv. no S.1241.

Our statue was part of a private European collection during the 18th century. In those times, it was common to recreate the heads of headless statues. The addition of the head is thus an integral part of the history of our Hercules and even enables us to date its restoration. The sculpture was then added to an American private collection from the 1950s.


BUST OF LYSIAS ROMAN , 1 S T - 2 ND CENTU RY A D

MARBLE

HEIGHT: 42 CM.

WIDTH: 28 CM.

DEPTH: 22 CM.

PROVENANCE: FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF THE HALLIDAY FAMILY, GLENTHORNE HOUSE, NORTH DEVON, ENGLAND, CERTAINLY SINCE THE 19 TH CENTURY. THEN IN THE COLLECTION OF SIR CHRISTOPHER ONDAATJE (1993-), WHO BOUGHT THE HALLIDAY FAMILY’S ESTATE AND COLLECTION IN 1984.

The quality of this marble bust is exceptional. Its

temples, as well as his medium length beard, which

realism and expressiveness are particularly striking.

covers the lower part of his face. The features of

It represents a middle-aged man with a thin, long

our portrait are extremely distinct and express both

face. His cheekbones are particularly high and

wisdom and intelligence.

prominent, contrasting with his sunken cheeks in an exquisite play of relief. His face is animated

This melancholic expression and very distinctive

by his small, almond-shaped eyes, deep-set and

physiognomy make it possible to identify the famous

accentuated by his eyelids. His brow line, heavy and

Greek orator Lysias. Born in Greece in 458 BC

slightly drooping, causes light and shadows to play

(or 440 BC, depending on the source), Lysias was

across his eyelids, giving him a melancholic, pensive

a logographer, a professional orator, who penned

look. At the corners of his eyes, slight wrinkles

accusations and pleas for others. Compelled to leave

confirm his advanced age. Under his broken nose,

Athens during the government of the Thirty Tyrants,

his full moustache partly hides his upper lip. His

installed by Sparta at the end of the Peloponnesian

bald head further emphasises his features and

War, Lysias became famous for his speech “Against

creates a contrast with the locks that curl over his

Eratosthenes”, which condemned the oligarchy.


He was known for his poetic writing, sometimes humorous and always accessible, as he used simple words. His writing and vocabulary were thus renowned as much for their pureness as for their effectiveness. His life and speeches are known due to ancient writings, particularly those of Dionysius of Halicarnassus, who extolled Lysias’ literary

Ill.

1.

Bust

of

Lysias,

Farnese

collection,

Roman,

4th century AD, marble, H.: 36 cm. Museo Archeologico

work, which included no less than 233 speeches, and

Nazionale, Naples, inv. no. 6130.

praised his writing: “Lysias’ style distinguishes itself

Ill. 2. Bust of Lysias, Roman, 4th century AD, marble,

by its great pureness: it is the most perfect model of

H.: 57 cm. Musei Capitolini, Rome, inv. no. 601. Ill. 3. Bust of Lysias, marble. Achilleion Palace, Corfu.

the Attic dialect” (Critical Essays – Ancient Orators, “Lysias”, II, 1). Our portrait of Lysias most likely adorned an Other sculptures representing this mainstay of the

opulent Roman dwelling. Although the Greek

art of rhetoric enable us to confirm the identity

orators and philosophers lived centuries before, it

of our bust. In his portraits, Lysias is always

was not at all surprising to find their portraits in

represented as a middle-aged man with a flattish

the Roman Empire. These portraits, which were

head, wavy locks of hair on his temples, deep-set

used as ornaments, were particularly appreciated

almond-shaped eyes and a moustache hiding his

by Rome’s elites, as they contributed to the

upper lip. These characteristics probably originated

intellectual influence of their owners. They adorned

with a Greek model that is now lost, created upon

libraries, gardens and corridors in lavish Roman

the death of Lysias in about 380 BC as a tribute.

houses and villas and provided families and guests

The bust conserved at the National Archaeological

with conversational topics. They set the tone for

Museum in Naples (Ill. 1), from the renowned

historical, political and, especially, philosophical

Farnese collection, is identical to our portrait in

discussions and enabled their owners to show the

every way. Lysias’ name is engraved on its base,

extent of their knowledge. Finally, a high-quality

leaving no doubt as to its subject’s identity. There

portrait such as this one, ordered from a talented

are two similar examples, one in the Hall of the

sculptor, also showed its owner’s financial status.

Philosophers in the Capitoline Museums in Rome (Ill. 2) and the other in the Achilleion Palace in

Our bust was part of the prestigious English

Corfu (Ill. 3).

collection owned by the Halliday family, housed in Glenthorne manor, in the heart of Devon, overlooking the banks of the Bristol Channel (Ill. 4).


Walter Stevenson Halliday (1793-1872) had the splendid dwelling built in 1829. Passionate about Antiquity and archaeology, he went on a great trip during which he visited Italy and its treasures and told of his adventures in a journal. He probably bought this bust of Lysias during one of his journeys in the Italian peninsula, then exhibited it in his manor until he died. As he had no children, his nephew William, then High Sheriff of the county of Devon, inherited it in 1882. After

William’s

death,

the

Halliday

family

kept the manor, before putting it up for sale in 1983. The estate and all its collections were purchased by the businessman, philanthropist, adventurer

and

collector

Sir

Christopher

Ondaatje and his wife. Our bust of Lysias thus remained in the same location from the 19th century.

Ill. 4. Our bust in Glenthorne House, North Devon, England.


HEAD OF HERA RO MA N, 1 S T CENTU RY A D

MARBLE

HEIGHT: 20 CM.

WIDTH: 18 CM.

DEPTH: 17 CM.

PROVENANCE: FORMER EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION SINCE THE LATE 18 TH CENUTRY, BASED ON THE RESTORATION TECHNIQUES. FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF KURT NASS, ART DEALER, ACQUIRED ON THE HAMBURG ART MARKET IN AROUND 1940. THEN IN THE COLLECTION OF PR WERNER GRAMBERG (1896-1985).

the

recalling the masterpieces of Greek art. Our head is

1st century AD represents the goddess Hera

also precious due to its patina, which still lingers on

wearing a diadem. The features of her oval face are

the marble. Sculpted in white marble, the left side

gentle and exquisitely sculpted, making our head

of our head still has traces where earth was once

very precious. The carved eyes are almond-shaped,

caked, showing that it was buried for several years.

framed by fine eyelids and surmounted by delicately

Centuries later, it thus still has its original patina

carved brow lines. Her gaze seems to be directed

which gives to our sculpture a particular aura, a

downwards and could have focused on an object

testament to the passing of time.

This

delicate

portrait

dating

back

to

she once held in her hands. Her straight, narrow nose is set above a small mouth with thin lips, which

The sculptor paid particular attention to her

are slightly parted and seem to smile. The chin of

hairstyle. In front, her wavy hair is separated in two

our young woman is high and round, giving our

sections, each strand of which is finely sculpted,

sculpture depth and relief.

giving the hairstyle volume and depth. These

All these physical traits reflect a certain idealisation,

sections almost entirely cover her ears, revealing


only part of her earlobes. The hair on the top of her

Hera is known for her proud, jealous nature. She

head is drawn back, creating fine waves. All her

persecuted the mistresses of her husband and his

hair comes together at her neck, in what was once

illegitimate children. Over the centuries, her cult

a sophisticated chignon, which was framed by two

spread throughout the entirety of the Empire,

locks of hair cascading down the nape of her neck.

especially in Rome, where she was worshipped

Her hairstyle is further adorned with a diadem,

as the protector of married women and the future

the central feature of our portrait. It is remarkably

mothers of the city.

fine, with a pearl encrusted protruding edge, which leads us to think that originally, the diadem was quite high and lavishly decorated. As the jewellery typical of the Roman period, diadems were first worn by oriental royals. They were then adopted in Greece as symbols of power. They were also worn by numerous deities (Ill. 1). Nevertheless, the elaboration of the strands, the facial features and the pearl encrusted diadem are all characteristics

Ill. 3. Hera Farnese, Roman, 1st century AD, marble. Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples, inv. no. 6005.

that enable us to identify our head as that of the

Ill. 4. Idealised head, Greek, 4th century BC, marble. Museo

goddess Hera.

Nazionale Romano, Rome, inv. no. 11615.

In terms of iconography, Hera was mainly represented with a royal diadem, one of her main attributes, symbolising her status as queen of the gods. One of the most beautiful examples is the Hera Barberini, currently conserved at the Galleria Ill. 1. Head of a goddess wearing a diadem, Roman,

Chiaramonti, Vatican (Ill. 2). The majestic goddess

1st-2nd century AD, marble, H.: 23 cm. Metropolitan

is wearing a crescent shaped diadem richly adorned

Museum of Art, New York, inv. no. 42.201.11.

with pearls and plant motifs. As in our portrait,

Ill. 2. Hera Barberini, Roman, 1st century AD, marble. Galleria Chiaramonti, Vatican Museums, section II, no. 14.

the goddess has dainty features and an elaborate hairstyle, particularly as regards the sculpture of

Hera, or Juno for the Romans, is the goddess of

her wavy locks. These same characteristics are

marriage, fertility and, more generally, women.

also displayed in a portrait of the goddess from

Not only was she the wife of Zeus, she was also

the Farnese collection, conserved in the National

worshipped as the queen of the Olympian gods.

Archaeological Museum in Naples (Ill. 3).


As for the two previous examples, our sculpture was probably inspired by a Greek model created centuries before. The aesthetic of the hairstyle and her idealised features were artistic markers that feature in models such as a head dated to the 4th century BC, currently conserved at the National Archaeological Museum in Rome (Ill. 4). Our head was acquired by Kurt Nass, art dealer in Hamburg in the 1940s. It was then added to the art collection of Werner Gramberg (1896-1985). A specialist in Italian sculpture, he was the director of the coins room at Hamburg museum before teaching history of art at the university of Hamburg. Our head was registered as no. 1234/35 in Werner Gramberg’s collection (Ill. 5).

Ill. 5. Inventory of Werner Gramberg.


HERMAIC PILLAR WITH HERMES AS A CHILD ROMAN, 1 S T -2 ND CE NTU RY A D

GIALLO ANTICO MARBLE

HEIGHT: 14.5 CM.

WIDTH: 7.5 CM.

DEPTH: 5.5 CM.

PROVENANCE: FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF HENRI MONARD, VAULT MAKER, DECEASED IN PARIS IN 1926. THEN PASSED ON AS AN HEIRLOOM, IN A PRIVATE COLLECTION, ESSONNE, FRANCE.

This delicate Roman sculpture, striking in the

giallo antico, the quintessential Roman marble,

realism of its many fine details, represents the god

characterised by its yellow glints. Archaeological

Hermes in the guise of a young child. Known as

concretions, visible on the face, the neck and the

Mercury in Roman mythology and Hermes in

hairstyle of the child, are the result of centuries

Greek mythology, this god, represented sometimes

of burial. Their presence attests to the lack of any

as a child and others as an adult, was particularly

changes and confirms that it has not been polished

appreciated and worshipped in Antiquity. One

since its discovery.

of the Olympian gods, he was celebrated as the

Our young Hermes’ face has soft, round contours.

god of trade, but also the messenger of the gods,

His round cheeks and small, almond-shaped eyes

the protector of travellers and merchants and the

brighten and animate his portrait, giving him a

guardian of crossroads.

youthful appearance. His fine, delicate nose is set

The marble used for this sculpture is the well-known

above a small, slightly open mouth. At the base


of his neck, there is a toga with delicate folds. On

name ‘Hermes’, revealing the god’s dominion over

top of his head, a raised central parting divides his

these architectural features. Although Hermes was

hair in two, while many curls frame the child’s face,

more frequently represented as an adult, there is

some even falling onto the top of his toga. Finally,

another example of the head of a young Hermes on

two small wings adorn the head of the young god,

a hermaic pillar, conserved at the Pio Clementino

also known as the “winged god”. Although Hermes’

Museum in Rome (Ill. 5). The god’s ubiquity on

wings are often represented on a helmet he wears

these pillars recalls his divine functions. Placing

to travel more quickly, as on the bronze sculpture

him in strategic locations such as borders and

conserved at the British Museum in London (Ill. 1),

crossroads was a strong symbol for the Greeks and

they can also be represented directly on his head, as

Romans, who felt protected and guided throughout

shown by another example at that museum (Ill. 2)

their private or professional journeys.

and a bronze sculpture conserved at the National Archaeological Museum at Saint-Germain-en-Laye (Ill. 3).

Ill. 3. Head of Hermes, Roman, 2nd-3rd century AD, bronze, Ill. 1. Statuette of Hermes, Roman, 1st century AD, bronze,

H.: 17 cm. Musée d’A rchéologie National, Saint-Germain-en-

H.: 6.35 cm. British Museum, London, inv. no. 1873,0820.52.

Laye, inv. no. MAN87914.

Ill. 2. Winged head of Hermes, Roman, ca. AD 120–150,

Ill. 4. Pillar depecting Hermes, Roman, 3rd century BC-

marble,

3rd century AD, terracotta. Musée du Louvre, Paris, inv. no. Sb 785.

H.:

9.5

cm.

British

Museum,

London,

inv. no. 1861,1127.67

Ill. 5. Head of Hermes on a bust of Hercules, Roman, 2nd century AD., marble, H.: 102 cm. Museo Pio Clementino,

Originally, this sculpted head surmounted a hermaic pillar. These served as milestones and were placed near borders or crossroads, enabling the Greeks and Romans to find their bearings. They were generally surmounted by an anthropomorphic head, very frequently that of Hermes, as for the statuette pillar conserved at the Louvre museum in Paris (Ill. 4). Moreover, the word ‘Hermaic’ is derived from the

Vatican Museums, inv. no. MV_2402_0_0.

In the Roman Empire, hermaic pillars were also used as decorative features and adorned the interiors of lavish Roman villas and domus. Gardens, corridors or sitting rooms were bedecked with these pillars surmounted by anthropomorphic heads, as for the sumptuous House of the Vettii in Pompeii, where


two hermaic pillars topped with Hermes’ head still preside over the garden (Ill. 6).

Ill. 6. Peristyle of the House of the Vettii, 1st century AD, Pompeii, Italy.

This remarkable portrait was in the collection of Henri Monard, vault maker. Passed down as an heirloom, it was in a private collection in Essonne, France, for many years.


BES EGYP T IAN, L A TE PERIOD, 664-332 BC

SERPENTINE

HEIGHT: 11.5 CM.

WIDTH: 4 CM.

DEPTH: 3 CM.

PROVENANCE: FORMERLY IN A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION, ACQUIRED IN THE 1960S. SOLD AT SOTHEBY’S NEW YORK, 7 DECEMBER 2001, LOT NO. 236. SOLD BY PIERRE BERGÉ ARCHÉOLOGIE, PARIS, 1 DECEMBER 2007, LOT NO. 442. THEN IN A LADY’S PRIVATE COLLECTION, ROME, ACQUIRED BEFORE 2009.

This statuette, striking in its vivacity, represents the

his eyes protruding, accentuated by kohl lines and

Egyptian god Bes in the guise of a grimacing dwarf.

thick, arched eyebrows. His round, large ears recall

Sculpted in serpentine, a dark, fine-grained stone

those of an ape, while the thick beard adorning the

with gorgeous green glints, it has a polished, almost

contour of his face is more reminiscent of a lion’s

glossy finish. The sculptor, demonstrating true

mane. It is finely detailed with vertical lines and

mastery over their chosen material, was meticulous

falls to the top of his back. His head is topped with

and extremely detailed in their work.

an imposing, trapezoidal headdress made up of exquisitely carved feathers.

Our Bes is naked, crouching on a small oval base, arms resting on his thighs. His stomach and

Bes’ appearance, both frightening and comical,

posterior are so large that he seems deformed. His

recalls the god’s function, as he was a protective

abdominals and pectorals are also generous and

deity, whose fearsome looks warded off evil spirits,

very clearly outlined. His features, set in a very

nightmares and all the negative aspects of daily life.

round face, are also grotesque, with a grimacing

Despite his grotesque physique, he was a jovial,

mouth that reveals his teeth. His nose is flat and

friendly god who was very popular in Ancient


Egypt. There are thus many representations of

of dancers. It is thus only natural that he was

him, in the form of protective amulets such as those

associated with such instruments. The material,

conserved at the Louvre museum in Paris (Ill. 1)

meticulousness and care taken with our sculpture

and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

make it a particularly rare and precious example of

(Ill. 2), which portray the god in exactly the same

such an object.

position as ours, though in different materials.

Ill.

1.

Bes-image

amulet,

Egyptian,

New

Kingdom,

1550-1069 BC, stone and gold, H.: 5.45 cm. MusĂŠe du Louvre, Paris, inv. no. E10685. Ill. 2. Bes-image amulet, Egyptian, Third Intermediate Period, 1070-712 BC, faience, H.: 3.7 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, inv. no. 26.7.878. Ill. 3. Mirror support in the form of Bes, Egyptian, Late Period or Ptolemaic period, 664-30 BC, faience, H.: 14.2 cm. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, inv. no. 48.1537.

As the guardian of households and newborns, Bes was often represented on everyday objects such as bed legs and mirror handles (Ill. 3). Our statuette ends in a small metallic pin, which shows that it was part of a larger object, probably a sistrum, a musical instrument made up of small bells, shaken by dancers or priests and priestesses as part of the cult of Hathor. The god was frequently represented on these instruments, as shown by examples conserved at the Walters Art museum in Baltimore and Thorvaldsens museums in Copenhagen (Ill. 4-5). Bes embodies the enjoyment of life, partying and dancing and was the protector

Ill. 4. Sistrum with handle in the shape of Bes and Hathor head, Egyptian, after 30 BC, bronze, H.: 12.1 cm. Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen, inv. no. H251. Ill. 5. Naos sistrum with Bes shaped handle, Egyptian, Roman Empire, 1st-2nd century AD, bronze, H.: 17.6 cm. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, inv. no. 54.493.


Words by Violaine BarthĂŠlĂŠmy - Antoinette Schneider - Clara Prats Gladys & Ollivier Chenel Photography by Adrien Chenel Printed by Burlet Graphics With the participation of Vincent Martagex, Julien Blanc and Kirsten Marson (traduction). The pictures were taken at the apartment of Adrien Chenel and the apartment of Gladys and Ollivier Chenel.

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Published in February 2020 In an edition of 1 000.


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