GENEVA – NEW YORK
PHOENIX ANCIENT ART SA – 2016 / 32
RELIEF WITH THE DAUGHTERS OF ZEUS AND TWO CUPIDS
FIGURINE OF A FELINE
GILDED ARM OF AN EQUESTRIAN
CONICAL VESSEL DECORATED WITH ANIMALS
PHIALE WITH THETIS AND THE ARMOR OF ACHILLES
HEAD OF A CAT
STATUETTE OF APHRODITE / VENUS
RED-FIGURE KYLIX WITH A MUSIC TEACHER AND SCHOOLBOY
HEAD OF A BANQUETER
STATUETTE OF A WORSHIPPER
PENDANT IN THE SHAPE OF A BULL’S HEAD
HEAD OF ZEUS OR POSEIDON
RING WITH CAMEO DEPICTING A CRAB
BLACK-FIGURE CUP WITH HERACLES
STATUETTE OF THE GODDESS BASTET
RELIEF WITH THE DAUGHTERS OF ZEUS AND TWO CUPIDS Greek, Hellenistic, 3rd – 2nd century B. C. Marble H: 63 cm – L: 133 cm In the 18th century this relief depicting the Moirai was in the collection of the Nani Museum in Venice, which owned many pieces found in Greece. This piece was acquired by Jacopo Nani on the Greek island of Corfu on March 28th 1761, who sent the drawing of the relief in the letter to his brother Bernardo (Padua, Biblioteca del Museo Civico). This particular relief exhibits many details that point to Greek workmanship of the Hellenistic period such as proportions of the ﬁgures, hairstyles, garments and the design of folds rendered with great precision. Most characteristic feature is the modeling of relief and spatial arrangement: the background around the female ﬁgures differs in depths which allows to distinguish clearly their parts and attributes, the spatial planes create the illusion of threedimensionality. At the left a chubby erote (Latin cupid) is directed by a paidotribe (trainer) of a similar young age. The trainer is draped in a himation (mantle) and holds a staff that identiﬁes his function as supervisor of the erotes’ pugilistic encounter. At the right three young women, the Moirai, are depicted at slightly smaller scale than the erote and trainer. They are grouped around a central globe mounted on a low horizontal stand. The ﬁgure at the far right reads an unfolded scroll; the ﬁgure on the left is seated upon a stool, a diphros, while looking at a celestial globe and touching it with a slender pointer; the central ﬁgure with upraised arms is in the process of spinning a thread or cord. She wears a chiton (tunic) that is buttoned along the sleeve, and then belted and pulled up to form a graceful kolpos, an overfold of cloth draped from her waist. The woman in the cen-
ter is dressed in a belted chiton with a kolpos, over which is worn a heavier himation that falls down around their waists and drapes down to their feet. Her companion on the right is clad in sleeved chiton and himation. The long hair of all the female ﬁgures is drawn up into a krobylos (gathering of hair into a bun shape) at the back of the head and secured by a thin ﬁllet or cord extending around the head. In Greek and Roman myth and religious belief the Moirai (Latin Parcae) were three goddesses who determined the destiny of humankind, particularly the length of a person’s life and their allotment of misery or suffering. Homer refers to Fate (moira) in the singular as an impersonal power and sometimes makes its functions interchangeable with the gods of Olympia. From the 8th century B.C. and the time of the poet Hesiod, the Moirai were known as the daughters of Zeus and Themis and personiﬁed as three old women spinning the threads of human destiny. They were named Clotho (Spinner), Lachesis (Allotter), and Atropos (Inﬂexible). Clotho spun the thread of human fate, Lachesis dispensed it, and Atropos cut the thread, thus determining the length of a person’s life and the moment of their death. On this relief the Moira named Clotho is identiﬁed by the spindle she holds up in her left hand; Lachesis holds a short staff in her right hand and points to the horoscope on a globe; Atropos holds open a scroll. The Romans identiﬁed the Parcae, originally personiﬁcations of childbirth, with the Greek Moirai. The Roman goddesses were named Nona, Decuma, and Morta. As the controllers of the life of every mortal and immortal from birth to death, the gods feared the Parcae and even Jupiter was subject to their power.
” Jacopo Nani sent a drawing of this relief in a letter to his brother Bernardo on March 28th, 1761.“
In his publication of this marble relief, Otto Brendel identiﬁes it as likely coming from an architectural structure, rather than from the side of a sarcophagus, which adds to the relief’s interest and importance. Taking into account that the missing left side of this relief would have mirrored the arrangement of the scene depicted on the relief as preserved (e.g. the boxing erote likely engaged a similar erote opponent, now missing at the left), Brendel concludes that the whole relief must originally have been a continuous frieze, and is not from a sarcophagus, but may rather belong to a small sepulchral building, the complete extent of which can no longer be determined. In any case a funerary meaning is assumed for the ﬁgural arrangements, both for the boxing erote and for the group of the Moirai. Scenes of erotes in the palaestra (athletic grounds) become common on late Roman sarcophagi.
CONDITION Broken parts of the slab were restored (one with the arm and shoulder of the erote; another at the lower right side), missing are some parts of the upper and lower border; surface is worn with few cracks, scratches and chips; two on the left female ﬁgure are ﬁlled with plaster. PROVENANCE Ex- Nani Museum, Venice, 18th century, created by two brothers, Bernardo (1712-1761) and Jacopo Nani (1725- 1797), the collection was dispersed in the 19th century and went to both private collections and museums, such as, the British Museum, the Louvre, the Hermitage, the Museo Nazionale and the Capitoline Museums in Rome, the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, and several others; Ex - Gioacchino Ferroni collection, prior to 1909; Ex- Gioacchino Ferroni private collection, Rome, prior to 1909; Jandolo et Tavazzi – Galerie Sangiorgi, Rome, April 14th – 22nd 1909; Ex- Vicomte Maurice du Dresnay collection, Château du Dreneuc in Fregeac, acquired in Rome in 1912; Ex- collection Jacques & Janine Nabon, 1970.
PUBLISHED Jandolo et Tavazzi – Galerie Sangiorgi, Catalogue de la Vente Aprás Décès Gioacchino Ferroni, Rome, 1909, p. 33, no. 277, pl. 52. PERDIZET P., Antiquités Grecques de la collection du Vicomte du Dresnay, Château du Dreneuc á Fregeac, Loire-Inférieure, 1918, no. 19 (illustrated). BRENDEL O., Symbolik der Kugel, in Römische Mitteilungen 57, 1936, pp. 76-80, pl. 10. GUERRINI L., Il rilievo Chigi al Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Siena, in Archeologia Classica 41, 1989, p. 11 note 23. FAVARETTO I., Raccolte di antichità a Venezia al tramonto della Serenissima: la collezione dei Nani di San Trovaso, in Xenia 21, 1991, p. 85, ﬁg. 6. FAVARETTO I., De Venise en France: Le commerce d’antiquités entre le XVIIe et le XIXe siècle, in LAURENS A.-F., POMIAN K., eds., L’Anticomanie: La collection d’antiquitès aux 18e et 19e siècles, Paris, 1992, pp. 79-80, ﬁg. 3. AMEDICK R., Die Sarkophage mit Darstellungen aus dem Menschenleben I, 4, Vita privata, Berlin, 1991, pp. 86, 91-92, 142, no. 122, pl. 77, 1. Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae 6, Zürich, München, 1992, s.v. Moirai, pp. 642-643, no. 32.
BIBLIOGRAPHY On the Nani collection, see: CAVALIER O., La collection Nani d’antiquités, in LAURENS A.-F., POMIAN K., eds., L’Anticomanie:La collection d’antiquitès aux 18e et 19e siècles, Paris, 1992, pp. 83-95. FAVARETTO I., Arte antica e cultura antiquaria nelle collezioni venete al tempo della Serenissima, Roma, 1990, pp. 206-220. FAVARETTO I., Raccolte di antichità a Venezia al tramonto della Serenissima: la collezione dei Nani di San Trovaso, in Xenia 21, 1991, pp. 77-92. FAVARETTO I., De Venise en France: Le commerce d’antiquités entre le XVIIe et le XIXe siècle, in LAURENS A.-F., POMIAN K., eds., L’Anticomanie: La collection d’antiquitès aux 18e et 19e siècles, Paris, 1992, pp. 73-82. ZORZI M., (ed.), Collezioni di antichità a Venezia nei secoli della Repubblica (dai libri e documenti della Biblioteca Marciana), Roma, 1988, pp. 137-144. For the Moirai, see: GANTZ T., Early Greek Myth: A Guide to Literary and Artistic Sources, Baltimore, 1993, pp. 7-8, 52-53. For the Parcae, see: OVID, Metamorphoses, II 654, V 532, VIII 452, XV 781.
FIGURINE OF A FELINE Elamite, ca. 12th century B.C. Agate L: 5.6 cm This small ﬁgure of an animal is remarkable in both the beauty of the hard stone and extraordinary workmanship. The natural appearance of the banded agate is combined with a high polish that makes the object extremely attractive. The composition of the recumbent animal is most typical for the early stage of the animalistic art of the Ancient Near East. The animal is represented resting quietly on the ground: the hind and forelegs are tucked under the body, the tail curls over the right ﬂank, the big head looking straight ahead. The ﬁgure is compact in shape, the details of the face are incised, and especially prominent are the big almond eyes, where the pupils are also indicated.
The best comparisons to the present piece are the Elamite recumbent lion from the Louvre and a bull (formerly in the renowned collection of ancient animals of Leo Mildenberg) made of banded agate.
Although the muscle structure is rendered in a generalized manner based on the smooth modeling of the hard stone, the combination of the rounded ears, thick neck, and broad muzzle suggest that the animal is a feline. The absence of the mane may indicate a lioness. The pattern of the stone may refer to the animal’s skin, however it is not certain as the stone could have be chosen for its own qualities. The contrasting dark brown and white bands along the body and collar triangle on the chest look very natural. When the piece is seen from its left side, the image appears even more naturalistic: the layers of white (shaped as a circle) and dark (dot in the middle) stone reproduce the eye and the pupil.
PUBLISHED Christie’s New York, 13 June 2000, lot 448.
CONDITION The piece is entirely preserved except for the broken ear points, the paws of the forelegs and part of the right hind leg; few scratches, cracks and chips, surface damage on the thigh of the left hind leg. The piece is pierced through the shoulders. PROVENANCE Ex- Ishiguro collection, Japan; Ex- Christie’s New York, 13 June 2000, lot 448.
BIBLIOGRAPHY HARPER P. O., ARUZ J., TALLON F., The Royal City of Susa: Ancient Near Eastern Treasures from the Louvre, New York, 1992, pp. 152-153, no. 99. KOZLOFF A. P., MITTEN G. D., SGUAITAMATTI M., More Animals from the Leo Mildenberg Collection, Mainz/Rhein, 1986, pp. 6-7, no. II, 7. A Peaceful Kingdom, The Leo Mildenberg Collection of Ancient Animals, Christie’s London, 26-27 October 2004, lot 165.
Objects worked in banded agate were prized in antiquity for their intricate natural patterns and highly polished quality. Figurines of animals and beads, sometimes with dedicatory inscriptions, served as votive offerings to the statues of deities. The present piece is bored through the shoulders so that it could either be strung as an amulet or afﬁxed to another object.
â€? Objects worked in banded agate were prized in antiquity for their intricate natural patterns and highly polished quality.â€œ
GILDED ARM OF AN EQUESTRIAN Graeco – Roman, 1st century B.C. – 2nd century A.D. Gilded bronze L: 60 cm This impressive and excuisite arm was once part of a larger than life size ﬁgure made of bronze with overall gilding. This fact immediately suggests the representation of a god or a person of power or high social status and wealth. Several opportunities for its iconography and composition could be explored, however we believe it to be the arm of a grand equestrian ﬁgure holding a short sword, reins or curved wand (lituus), considering the relatively lightweight and presumably diagonal position of the object. The half ﬁgure of Augustus, the survived part of the bronze equestrian statue at the National Museum in Athens, has one hand (left) with a similar gesture and gracefully extended ﬁngers, for which a short sword has been suggested. The ofﬁcial iconography of the Roman emperor as the supreme priest (pontifex maximus) includes the augur’s staff (curved wand, lituus) in the right hand; such a small attribute is not always survived in large statues, but it is represented in the historical reliefs on cameos (Gemma Augustea, Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum; Grand Camée de France and Cameo of apotheosis of Claudius, both Paris, Bibliothèque nationale): they represent the deiﬁed persons, half-naked as gods and omitting the usual priest’s veil, but holding the lituus. The arm is bent at the elbow and is somewhat raised; the muscles are articulated but not exaggerated; the absence of the strong and developed musculature, especially in its upper part, may suggest an older age of the represented person. The ﬁngers have typical narrow distal phalanxes and rather small nails, which are naturalistically rendered; on the palm between the
ﬁngers there are remains of lead which indicate the connection to an attribute, in our theory, a short sword, reins, or littus. The index and middle ﬁnger did not touch the object and the thumb was not pressed against it, only the little and ring ﬁngers are curled which brings us to the conclusion that the object was not heavy, which is also observed in the fact that the muscles of the arm are not strained. The arm is hollow and was cast separately of the rest of the statue in the lost wax model technique. The gilded surface is highly preserved with the exception of an area where it has been roughly scraped, possibly in late Antiquity as if in attempt to collect the gold. There are three techniques of gilding that were commonly used: foil gilding, which involved wrapping gold foil around an object; leaf gilding, which used sheets of gold leaf directly on the surface of the bronze with a layer of adhesive; and ﬁre gilding (the technique used on this arm): which is characterized by dissolving gold powder in hot mercury, applying the amalgam to the bronze and heating the surface, and allowing the mercury to evaporate, leaving behind a layer of gold ﬁrmly bonded to the bronze. Several fragments, fragmented ﬁgures and few entirely preserved gilded bronze statues of the Roman period have survived, among them the famous equestrian statue of the emperor Marcus Aurelius (the Capitoline Museum, Rome), statues of Hercules (the Capitoline Museum; the Vatican Museums) and the group of two women and two equestrian men from Cartoceto, Pergola.
” On the palm between the fingers, there are remains of lead which indicate the connection to a short sword, reins, or curved wand (littus).“
CONDITION Remains of lead on the palm; the upper edge of the arm has the cuttings to join the shoulder; multiple long scratches and few indentations on surface; gilding is partially missing; oxides. PROVENANCE Ex- European private collection; Ex- Bill Blass Collection, New York, acquired from Phoenix Ancient Art in 1999; Ex- Sotheby's New York, 21-23 October 2003, lot 42. PUBLISHED Sotheby's New York, 21-23 October 2003, lot 42. BIBLIOGRAPHY COMSTOCK M. B., VERMEULE C. C., Greek, Etruscan and Roman Bronzes in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 1971, pp. 13-131, nos. 147-149. HILL D. K., Catalogue of Classical Bronze Sculpture in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, 1949, p. 6, nos. 8-9. MATTUSCH C. C., The Fire of Hephaistos, Large Classical Bronzes from North American Collections, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1996, pp. 206 no. 11, 209 no. 15. ODDY W. A., COWELL M. R., CRADDOCK P. T., HOOK D. R., The Gilding of Bronze Sculpture in the Classical World, in Small Bronze Sculpture from the Ancient World, Malibu, 1990, pp. 103-124. POLLINI J., From Republic to Empire: Rhetoric, Religion, and Power in the Visual Culture of Ancient Rome, Norman, 2012, pp. 137-139. 14
CONICAL VESSEL DECORATED WITH ANIMALS Proto- Sumerian/Sumerian, late 4th – early 3rd millennium B.C. Copper H: 14.2 cm – D: 15.8 cm This vessel of simple form is a truncated goblet on a small discoid base without handles. The decoration consists of three superimposed friezes separated by cords in relief, which encircle the surface. Each of the friezes is decorated with a series of quadrupeds: there are six bulls walking to the right on the upper level; four recumbent ibexes with twisted horns in the middle section; and four bovines, probably calves or cows. The recumbent animals have their three legs tucked under the body while one of the forelegs is ﬂexed and reached forward. The style of the piece is remarkable, the artist employs a particular way to represent the subject matter and the space: the animals’ bodies are shown in a very low relief while their heads are modeled three-dimensionally and clearly divided from the vessel’s wall. A similar approach is found not only in toreutics (gold or silver vessels with reliefs) but also in the modeling of stone vessels with animal friezes. The attentive visual inspection of the piece reveals the presence of many anatomical details, stylized but also precise, which mark the bodies of the animals. Their fur is beautifully rendered with vertical wavy lines.
Both Proto-Sumerian and Sumerian art produced several vases of different shapes (jugs, goblets, cups) decorated with animalistic reliefs; in addition there are representations of felines, birds and humans next to the processions of bulls and calves. The importance of the animalistic processions is proven by their presence in decorative arts of that period, such as glyptic art; there are also magniﬁcent stone statuettes representing bovids. Such representations portray the world of agriculture and cattle breeding as the activities that established the base of the economic system of Mesopotamia and the whole ancient world. The written sources report on the wealth of the sanctuaries and the palaces which possessed big troops of quadrupeds. The artistic quality, the chosen material as well as the representation indicates a speciﬁc use of the present piece: most probably, this precious vessel belonged to a temple treasury and was used in accomplishing speciﬁc rites or sacriﬁces (in Antiquity, bulls and ibexes were the animals most frequently offered to divinities during the blood sacriﬁces).
” Such representations portray the world of agriculture and cattle breeding as the activities that established the base of the economic system of Mesopotamia.“
CONDITION The piece is entirely preserved, however, damaged with cracks; the surface is worn and covered with green and red incrustations of copper oxides which partially cover the modeling details. The body of the vessel is deformed resulting in a rather elliptic than circular shape. The piece was cast in a mold; it is possible that the base and the animals’ heads were cast separately and welded to the rest of the vessel. PROVENANCE Ex- British private collection; Ex- S.A. private collection, Switzerland, acquired in 1996. BIBLIOGRAPHY ARUZ J., (ed.), Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus, New York, 2003, pp. 16-17 no. 2a, b, p. 42 no. 12, pp. 48-50 no. 16a, b. MÜLLER-KARPE M., Metallgefässe im Iraq I (Von den Anfängen bis zur Akkad-Zeit), Stuttgart, 1993, pp. 235-237, no. 1586, pl. 142 (here B). STROMMENGER E., Gefässe aus Uruk von der neubabylonischer Zeit bis zu den Sasaniden, Berlin, 1967, pp. 36-37, pl. 49, 4. The Ernest Brummer Collection, vol. II, Auction Sale 16-19.10.1979, Zurich, pp. 62-63, no. 529. VAN ESS M. – PEDDE F., Uruk, Kleinfunde II, Mainz/Rhine, 1992, pl. 19, no. 117. WOOLLEY C.L., The Development of Sumerian Art, London, 1935, pp. 58-60, pls. 16-18. 18
PHIALE WITH THETIS AND THE ARMOR OF ACHILLES Greek, late 5th – early 4th century B.C. Silver, gold D: 20.3 cm This vessel is of the ﬁnest and rarest examples of an omphalos phiale that can be dated to the Classical period and was likely hammered from a single sheet of silver, and embellished with parcel-gilt (ﬁgural decoration, omphalos) and ornamental motifs in low relief. Mainly used to make libations, this form of vessel often appears in contemporary iconography in scenes of mythological nature or representing a warrior leaving for a military campaign: the phiale, a shallow drinking vessel, contained the wine offered to the deity, which had to be poured on the ground or upon an altar. The reﬁned workmanship that enhances the piece was made even more remarkable by the highly detailed mythological scene that decorates the vessel.
simply holds a belt. The ﬁgures are dressed in loose chitons that ﬂutter in the breeze, emphasizing the speed of the sea creatures that swim by leaping on the waves of the sea. As usual, Achilles is not represented in the thiasos.
The omphalos is encircled by a frieze of palmettes alternating with open lotuses framed by a stylized kyma. The ﬁgural scene shows a very famous subject (known as a sea thiasos or a sea parade), largely widespread in Greek iconography from the 4th century B.C. especially. The main ﬁgure here is Thetis, bringing to her son Achilles his new armor forged by the most gifted of all craftsmen, the god Hephaestus.
The remarkable toreutic work can be compared to the beautiful contemporary gilded silver vessels uncovered in northern Greece and in Thrace, but certainly produced by Greek craftsmen.
According to the mythological narration, Achilles (who, with Heracles, is the archetypal Greek hero) had lent the weapons that he took to the Trojan War to his friend Patroclus, for him to ﬁght beneath the city walls of Troy. But after the death of Patroclus by the hand of Hector, Achilles decided to resume the battle and to defy Priam’s son. Thetis comes at that moment and, since she cannot convince her son to refrain from avenging the death of his best friend, she gives him a ﬁne new armor. A sea deity (she is one of the Nereids, the daughters of the sea god Nereus, and therefore lives under the sea), Thetis can be identiﬁed by her crown and especially by her mount, a seahorse (her sisters ride dolphins). In her hands, she holds a spear, and a shield decorated with an impressive gorgoneion. Two other Nereids carry the helmet and the armor, while a third Nereid 20
This episode has a long literary tradition, already related in the Iliad of Homer (Books 18-19) in a famous excerpt in which the poet describes at length the armor forged by Hephaestus. Iconographically, this nautical subject matter was particularly suited for long and regular friezes, such as the scenes depicted on mosaics and in the minor arts, on potteries or, like here, on luxury tableware intended for the highest classes of society.
CONDITION Complete and very carefully cleaned; minor repairs. Gilding largely preserved, as well as the decorative incisions. PROVENANCE Ex- European private collection, early 1980s; Ward and Co., New York, USA, 1990 or prior; Ex- US private collection, New York, acquired in 1990. BIBLIOGRAPHY Die alten Zivilisationen Bulgariens: Das Gold der Thraker, Basel, 2007, nos. 125d-e. MARAZOV I., (ed.), Ancient Gold: The Wealth of Thracian Treasures from the Republic of Bulgaria, New York, 1998, nos. 64, 77 and 116. On Hellenistic toreutics, see: OLIVER A., Silver for the Gods: 800 Years of Greek and Roman Silver, Toledo, 1977. PFROMMER M., Metalwork from the Hellenized East, Malibu, 1993. МАРАЗОВ И. Тракия и древният свят XV - I в. пр. Хр.: "Колекция Васил Божков", София, 2011, pp. 57-58, no 45 (similarly decorated phiale from the Vasil Bozhkov collection).
â€? The Nereids are bringing to Achilles his new armor and Thetis carries his shield and spear forged by the most gifted of all craftsmen, the god Hephaestus.â€?
HEAD OF A CAT Egyptian, Third Intermediate Period, ca. 1070–712 B.C. Bronze H: 7 cm In ancient Egypt, the domestic cat embodied the qualities of the goddess Bastet, who was associated with female sexuality and fertility and often depicted surrounded by a litter of kittens. Bastet, whose cult seems to have emerged as early as the Second Dynasty, was closely linked to the kingship by the Old Kingdom, acting as the royal nurse in the Pyramid Texts. Despite her generally benevolent nature, Bastet revealed her more feral and aggressive traits in her role as the daughter of the sun god, Re’, in which she was charged with killing his nemesis, the serpent Apophis. At the end of the second millennium BC, the large-scale donation of ex-votos by private individuals became increasingly popular within the cults of certain deities, peaking during the Ptolemaic Period. These votives included bronze statuettes and mummiﬁed sacred animals. A variety of creatures, including cats, were bred, mummiﬁed, and presented as offerings in temples before being interred in special catacombs. The mummies were usually buried in two types of cofﬁns: either a narrow box that held a ﬁgure of the animal on the lid or a container in the shape of the animal itself.
During the Late and Ptolemaic periods, bronze was an especially popular medium for votive ﬁgures such as this cat, due to the ease with which they could be mass produced. Throughout Egyptian history, bronze ﬁgures were assembled from separately manufactured components. These elements were usually hollow-cast using wax models. Single-piece castings became increasingly common after the Third Intermediate Period due to the preference for simpler forms and the development of more ﬂuid alloys. CONDITION
Complete, in excellent condition, minor chips (lower neck, left ear especially). A gold earring adorns the left ear. PROVENANCE
Ex- private collection, USA. Ex- Sotheby’s New York, 14 December 1994, lot 17. PUBLISHED
Sotheby’s New York, 14 December 1994, lot 17; Art of the two Lands, Egypt from 4000 B.C. to 1000 A.D., New York, 2006, pp. 118-119, 200, no. 39. BIBLIOGRAPHY
The size of this superlative head suggests that it most likely came from the latter type of cofﬁn or a votive ﬁgure, which would have depicted a cat seated upright with its front paws together and its tail curled around its body. The broad, elegantly modeled face has an incised mouth and whiskers, while engraved pupils, carefully detailed eyelids, and inner canthi distinguish the eyes. The tall ears turn slightly forward, giving an appearance of alert attention. A deep groove runs down the outer edge of each ear, with incised parallel lines along the inner edge representing ﬁne hairs. A gold earring adorns the proper left ear.
GUICHARD H., (ed.), Des animaux et des pharaons. Le règne animal dans l’Égypte ancienne, Lens, 2014, pp. 294 ff. LETELLIER B et al., Les animaux dans l’Egypte ancienne, Lyon, 1977, pp. 43 ff. PAGE-GASSER M., WIESE A.B., Egypte. Moments d’éternité. Art égyptien dans les collections privées, Suisse, Mainz/Rhine, 1997, pp. 276-277. SCOTT N. E., The Cat of Bastet, in Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 17, 2, 1958, p. 3. WILKINSON R. H., The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, London, 2003, pp. 177-178.
â€? In ancient Egypt, the domestic cat embodied the qualities of the goddess Bastet, who was associated with female sexuality and fertility.â€?
STATUETTE OF APHRODITE/VENUS Roman, 3rd century A.D. Marble, pigments, gold, stone H: 40.5 cm This piece was carved from a small single block of marble (statuette, base and dolphin-shaped support). It originally looked very different because of its rich polychromy, still partially preserved, as attested by red (hair, sandals, dolphin) and black traces (base, dolphin, eyes of Aphrodite/Venus), and especially by the gilded adornment (bracelets on the wrists and arms, necklace, anklets, sandals). The young woman also wears a small chain made of gold and semiprecious black stones, currently wrapped around her neck. On her breast, a series of plaster “dots” suggests the presence of a double-belt crossed on the chest. The general attitude of the young woman and the presence of one of her favorite attribute animals - the dolphin - enable us to conﬁdently identify her as Aphrodite, Venus to the Romans, the goddess of love and fecundity, one of the most famous and most represented deities in Greek art, from the Hellenistic period especially, and in Roman art. The base of the statuette (rather semicircular in shape and probably broken at the back) is perfectly ﬂat in the lower part and without tenons. On the right of the viewer is a supporting pillar, modeled in the shape of a dolphin on the front, simply rounded in the back view (as is often the case, the animal, whose muzzle only recalls the marine mammal, is represented vertically, its head directed downwards). The left leg of the goddess supports the weight of her naked body, while her right leg is slightly bent with her foot slightly touching the ground: this posture, largely used by Classical artists, creates a graceful swaying, especially in the rear view, which is, however, less detailed than the frontal view. Despite some stylization, the body of Venus has a sinuous proﬁle with the sensual
shapes of a young woman. She slightly turns her head to the left, her left arm falling along her body, touching the dolphin's tail and the supporting pillar, while her right arm is folded and raised, the hand holding a thick lock of hair. The face is an oval, with a somewhat frozen and impersonal expression, typical of the Roman ﬁgurines of provincial origin in the Imperial period: artistically, there is a strong contrast between the accurate, well-proportioned rendering of the body and the head and right hand, whose shapes are less elaborate and precise, and which appear to have been made by another artist or to be incomplete. The hair, parted in the middle of the forehead, frames the face like a small pediment; at the back, it is gathered in a bun, and arranged in two long braids on the sides. A large crescent-shaped diadem crowns her head. More than for its aesthetic qualities, this work is remarkable for its decoration, which, although partially faded, left ample traces on the surface: it can therefore be compared to another famous ﬁgure of Aphrodite/Venus (found in Pompeii and sometimes catalogued as the “Bikini Venus”; Naples, the National Archaeological Museum), which represents the goddess in a different attitude (she bends down to remove her sandal), but with a very sophisticated decoration, composed of gild adornment and painted details on the surface, a pattern closely related to our statuette. Typologically, this work can also be compared to the Medici Venus for its stance, as well as for the presence of the pillar and the dolphin. But, as is often the case for the representations of Aphrodite dated to the Imperial period, the Roman artist did not follow a single prototype and chose to achieve an eclectic work, characterized
” Aphrodite, Venus to the Romans, is one of the most famous and most represented deities in Greek and Roman art.“
by the mixture of elements that appear in various types of statues of the goddess: for example, the gesture of the young woman wringing out her hair comes from the Aphrodite Anadyomene (“rising from the sea”), while the left arm falling down towards the pillar recalls the Aphrodite of Knidos, who, in her most famous portrait, places her clothes on a hydria. The double-belt crossed on the chest is a typical female accessory in Near Eastern cultures, already attested on Neolithic terracotta vessels (Ubaid period, ca. 4000 B.C.): its exact purpose is currently unknown, but it is thought to have had an aesthetic and decorative function intended to highlight the shapes of the female body. In the Greco-Roman world, this detail is largely documented, and adorns other images of Aphrodite/ Venus that generally originated in the eastern part of the Mediterranean. From the 1st century B.C. and under the inﬂuence of the Hellenistic world, the wealthy Romans used to decorate their villas with statues of Greek origin, which were copied by local artists. These images of varying size represented a sort of status symbol that the owners displayed in several parts of their house (impluvium, peristyle, garden), as largely attested by the excavations in Pompeii: mounted on a high pedestal, as part of a small fountain or of another water feature, adorning a niche, etc., they were supposed to impress the guests and visitors by highlighting the taste and culture of the owner of the villa.
CONDITION Complete, only the right forearm was reglued (probably, an ancient restoration). Superﬁcial chips and wear. Traces of gilding and of the plaster used to attach the gold elements, abundant traces of polychromy (black and red pigment). Small chain made of gold and semiprecious black stones encircling the neck. PROVENANCE Ex- Swiss private collection, 1960’s; Ex- private collection, Dr. L., Switzerland, acquired in 1974; European private collection, 2009. BIBLIOGRAPHY On the iconography of Aphrodite, see: BIEBER M., Ancient Copies, Contributions to the History of Greek and Roman Art, New York, 1977, p. 64 ff., pl. 41 ff. BRINKERHOFF D.M., Hellenistic Statues of Aphrodite, New York, 1978. Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Zürich, vol. II, 1984, s.v. Aphrodite, pp. 2-166. Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Zürich, vol. VIII, 1997, s.v. Venus, pp. 193-230. For the statuette of Pompeii, see: WARD-PERKINS J. - CLARIDGE A., Pompeii A. D. 79, Boston, 1978, p. 189, no. 208. On the double-belt, see: KEEL O. et al., Eva-Mutter alles Lebendigen, Frauen und Göttinnenidole aus dem Alten Orient, Fribourg, pp. 88-89 and pp. 254-255.
RED-FIGURE KYLIX WITH A MUSIC TEACHER AND SCHOOLBOY Greek, Attic, ca. 490–480 B.C., attributed to the Brygos Painter Terracotta H: 8.3 cm – D: 21.5 cm – W. including handles: 28.9 cm – D. of the foot: 8.5 cm A kylix is a wine-cup with a broad, shallow bowl and two horizontal handles that slant slightly upward from the sides of the cup. This example has a trumpet shaped foot that forms a continuous proﬁle with the bowl. The kylix is covered with black slip on the exterior, with only areas near the handles and interiors of the handles themselves reserved in the reddish color of the clay. The ﬁgural scene on the interior of the cup, set within a circular tondo, is framed by an ornamental band consisting of stopt, paired maeanders facing right, and separated by a cross-insquare design.
early training that any well-bred Athenian youth would be familiar with, and it is abundantly illustrated in Greek vase painting. The chelys-lyra seems to be especially associated with youths and young men, since it was the chief instrument they were taught to play and expected to master. By the Hellenistic period the term “lyric poetry” is used to describe a category of sung (as opposed to recited) poetry combined with music. The aulos is the instrument most commonly associated with the lyra and is depicted with it in vase painting in both mythological contexts and scenes of everyday life.
Within the tondo, wearing a himation draped over his shoulder and leaning on a long staff, the central ﬁgure, a music teacher, stands holding in his right hand a lyre with a sound box made from a tortoise shell, a chelys (“tortoise”)-lyra. In his left hand he holds a double ﬂute, auloi. At the lower right is the teacher’s stool, diphros, upon which is a cushion decorated with a zig-zag pattern. The teacher seems distraught with the young student who sits dejectedly on a small, box-shaped stool. In this scene, perhaps the boy has angered his instructor by being ill prepared or off key; if so, the Brygos Painter provides us with a believable scenario from everyday life the music lesson “gone wrong.” The teacher appears to brandish the auloi in front of the boy, holding them over his head. The boy, who holds a writing case in his right hand, raises his left hand, as though in self-defense. The ﬂute case, sybene, represented as a long, rectangular shape, hangs in the background to the left of the teacher.
The Brygos Painter, along with Onesimos, Makron, and Douris, is one of the leading cup painters of the late Archaic period. Of all the artists active at this time, the Brygos Painter demonstrates some of the most innovative poses based on observations of nature, and characteristically, he is particularly adept at portraying situations from everyday life. Proliﬁc in output, with over two hundred vases attributed to his hand, the Brygos Painter is named after the potter Brygos, for whom he painted some of his ﬁnest cups. His early works, which date to the years before 490 B.C., are contemporary with the early work of Onesimos; his mature period is essentially the decade after 490 B.C., the time during which he painted this kylix. The head of the music teacher, rendered with an expressive, open mouth, high brows above narrow eyes, and a long, straight nose-line, exempliﬁes the Brygos Painter’s mature style. The artist is known generally for his realistic representations of children, and on this kylix the painter’s ability to depict them accurately is evident in his drawing of the diminutive schoolboy, who seems to cower under the raised hand of his teacher. Typical for clothing by the Brygos Painter, the himatia of both the teacher and schoolboy have regular folds following the shape of the body only in a general way, giving the drapery a starched appearance.
In ancient Greece, the lyre, one of the simplest and perhaps most important of all Greek stringed instruments, was an essential accompaniment for the recitation of poetry, following the Athenian custom of singing poetry to music. A music lesson including the lyra was part of
” A music lesson including the lyra was part of early training that any well-bred Athenian youth would be familiar with.“
CONDITION Recomposed from fragments, but largely complete with only minor in-painting of cracks. There are drill holes remaining from ancient repairs on the bowl. PROVENANCE Ex- European art market, acquired in the 1980’s. PUBLISHED The Painter’s Eye: The Art of Greek Ceramics, New York, 2006, pp. 50- 53. BIBLIOGRAPHY BEAZLEY J. D., Attic Red-Figured Vases in American Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1918, pp. 89-93. BEAZLEY J. D., Attic Red-Figure Vase Painters, Vol. 1, 2nd edition, Oxford, 1963, pp. 368-385. BEAZLEY J. D., Paralipomena, Addition to “Attic black-figure vase-painters” and “Attic red-figure vasepainters”, 2nd edition, Oxford, 1971, pp. 224-229. BOARDMAN J., Athenian Red-Figure Vases: The Archaic Period, London, New York, 1975, pp. 135-136. ROBERTSON M., The Art of Vase-Painting in Classical Athens, Cambridge, 1992, pp. 93 -100. WEGNER M., Der Brygosmaler, Berlin, 1973. 34
HEAD OF A BANQUETER Etruscan, late 2nd – early 1st century B.C. Nenfro and pigments H: 38.7 cm This impressive head is one of the best surviving examples of monumental Etruscan sculptures. In many cases the depiction of the person is rather generic than realistic. Identifying the person within the tomb was nevertheless important, and in this present portrait, despite the rough material, the sculptor was able to reproduce the individual features closely: aquiline nose with broad nostrils, furrowed brow, full lips and, dimpled heavy chin, prominent Adam’s apple, thick and short neck, large and protruding ears. His short hair is combed in long strands from the top of the head forward. The deep folds that ﬂank the mouth and nose suggest his middle age. The expression of his face is calm and looks kind. The remains of the collar are visible around the neck indicating that the person was wearing a tunic. A thick chaplet typical for a banqueter is on his head, where some yellow is still visible, which probably imitates gold. There were more colors to represent the liveliness as one can judge upon the red pigment on his lips and eyelids. The use of nenfro, a variety of tuff, a volcanic stone of dark grey color found in the Vulci area, along with limestone or travertine is characteristic of Etruscan sculpture. The material is rather soft, but gradually hardens with exposure to the air. Comparable to ancient Greek sculpture in many ways, the Etruscan sculpture of the Classical and Hellenistic periods has its particularities: the lack of large scale marble or bronze statues of rulers, intellectuals, and private persons shifted the emphasis on the representations of individuals in funerary context. The head belonged to an over life-size ﬁgure of a man which surmounted the lid of sarcophagus. The Etruscan tumuli were designed as family mausoleums with vast
chambers presenting stone sarcophagi and alabaster or terracotta cinerary urns. Not only the cult of ancestors (the space was used for several generations of a family), but also such concepts as human age, health, social status and wealth were expressed in the design of the monuments. It is important to note that sculptural images along with the frescoes on the walls and the accompanying goods (ceramic vessels, bronze ﬁgurines, and objects) are the primary source of our knowledge of the Etruscan visual arts and material culture. The composition employed for both large scale sarcophagi and smaller size rectangular urns was canonical – the entire ﬁgure represented reclining on its proper left side in a banqueting posture. This well-established type had a special meaning of a person being part in important social rites. There could be variations of dress (a long tunic covering the body or an ample himation leaving the upper part of the male torso bare); composition (the head resting on a pillow or raised, supported by the hand or not); gaze (directed straight on or slightly upward), and attribute (a ring on the ﬁnger, wreath on the head, garland around the chest, libation bowl, phiale, scroll held in hand, or fan). The ﬁgure could be alone or make part of a husband and wife couple. In some cases the name of the person with indication of his/her ﬁlial or martial relationship, age or occupation (priest, magistrate) is inscribed while the theme of the reliefs covering the front and the sides of the sarcophagus could refer to his professional occupation. Men of middle age or older are usually represented overweight, with their fat bodies, as such appearance was considered as very healthy and appropriate for the social life and health standards of the era; the images are closely associated with the designation obesus etruscus.
” Men of middle age or older are closely associated with the designation obesus etruscus.“
CONDITION Excellent preservation; surface is slightly worn; minor abrasion at the tip of the nose. PROVENANCE Ex- Wladimir Rosenbaum, Galerie Serodine, Ascona, 1960’s; (Documented by Hans Jucker in a letter dated February 28th, 1969); Ex- Arete Gallery, Zürich, 1972; Ex- European private collection, acquired in Zurich, invoice dated April 28th, 1972 (Documented by Denis Haynes, the former head of the Greek and Roman Department at The British Museum, in a letter in 1980). BIBLIOGRAPHY COMSTOCK M. B., VERMEULE C. C., Sculpture in Stone, The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 1976, pp. 250-251, no. 386. DE PUMA R. D., Etruscan Art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New Haven, London, 2013, pp. 244-245, no. 6.91a, b. GAULTIER F., HAUMESSER L., CHATZIEFREMIDOU K., L’art etrusque: 100 chefs-d’œuvre du Musée du Louvre, pp. 186-187, no. 91. HERBIG R., Die Jüngeretruskischen Steinsarkophage, Berlin, 1952, pp. 32, 58-59, 74, 83, nos. 52, 110-111, 243-245, pls. 57e, 70a, 77a, 84a, b, 93a, d, 94b, 96a-d, 101c. IZZET V., The archaeology of Etruscan society, Cambridge, New York, 2007, pp. 87-121. KUNZE M., KÄSTNER V., Die Welt der Etrusker, Berlin, 1988, pp. 311-312, 320, no. D5.18. MEER L. B. van der, Myths and more on Etruscan stone sarcophagi (c. 350 – c. 200 B.C.), Louvain, Dudley, MA, 2004, pp. 23-28, 84-86, 95. SPRENGER M., BARTOLINI G., The Etruscans, New York, 1983, pp. 57-58, pls. 246-251. 38
STATUETTE OF A WORSHIPPER Sumerian, 3rd millennium B.C. Alabaster H: 23.5 cm Following the classic Mesopotamian style, this personage represented in strictly frontal view is dressed in a kaunakes (an article of clothing made from the ﬂeece of a sheep or goat and sometimes from tufts of wool, which takes the form of a tunic or skirt) and the same style cape which covers both shoulders. The cape and the dress arranged in seven overlapping rows descend to just above the ankles. The borders of the garment fall vertically and leave the central part open. The person clasps their hands in front of the chest in prayer. The enormous, wide open eyes were once inlaid: shell could have been used for the whites while the irises may have been in lapis lazuli. The arched brows, which are connected, were indicated by a deep channel, originally ﬁlled with black bitumen and the face was therefore polychrome. Although the inlays are missing and the surface is worn, one can recognize the serene expression of the face looking straight ahead. The long hair is gathered in a chignon at the nape of the neck. The small standing ﬁgure possesses a monumental quality. The general attitude of this personage corresponds to that of the «worshipper», which was one of the earliest and most famous ﬁgures in all Mesopotamian sculpture. Many Mesopotamian temples were ﬁlled with numerous ﬁgurines of men and women that the faithful commissioned and dedicated to the different divinities as symbols of their devotion and to assure a constant reverential presence before the god. The ex-votos were left at the foot of the altar or on an offering table; often they were found in favissae (repositories), where they were deposited so as not to crowd the temple or sanctuary
and to create space for new dedications. These statuettes were offered by the important people who were at the core of the temple’s activities and those who were part of the administration, by members of the ofﬁcers of the cult, by the well-off (for example merchants or high ranking dignitaries), and even by members of the royal family. Sometimes they bear inscriptions on the back that give the name and rank of the owner. Similar poses and dresses were also employed to represent the deities, in this case an inscription would indicate the divine status and the name. The fully dressed ﬁgures are more characteristic for the female representations, such as the statue of the goddess Narundi/ Narunte found in a temple on the Acropole of Susa, today in the Louvre collection. CONDITION The piece is preserved almost entirely, missing are inlays in the eyes and parts from the lower left side (base, toes of the foot, edge of the dress) and parts of the base at the back; the surface is severely worn, there are several cracks crossing the stone. PROVENANCE Acquired on the European art market, 1995, imported into the US, July 25, 1995. BIBLIOGRAPHY ARUZ J., (ed.), Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus, New York, 2003, pp. 59-71 nos. 24-30, pp. 148-155 nos. 88-93. BRAUN-HOLZINGER E. A., Frühdynastische Beterstatuetten, Berlin, 1977. FRANKFORT H., Sculpture of the Third Millennium from Tell Asmar and Khafajah (OIP 44), Chicago, 1939. HARPER P. O., ARUZ J., TALLON F., The Royal City of Susa: Ancient Near Eastern Treasures from the Louvre, New York, 1992, pp. 90-91, no. 55.
” The general attitude of this personage corresponds to that of the «worshipper», which was one of the earliest and most famous figures in all Mesopotamian sculpture.”
PENDANT IN THE SHAPE OF A BULL’S HEAD Greek, late 4th century B.C. Gold L: 3.8 cm The piece is shaped as a bull’s head and was one of the charms attached to a necklace. Considering the wide aperture of the suspension tube, it is possible to suggest that the necklace itself was a round (“upset”) chain designed to accommodate the ornaments of various designs and beads. The size and the elaborate ornament of the suspension tube would make this the central piece in the entire composition. This sculptural head was made from gold sheet hammered on the mold, the seam on the back (now visible) was soldered. The ears and horns are worked separately and attached. The repousse technique was used to shape the anatomical details (eyes, veins, dewlap folds), and more detailing (like the skin on the muzzle) was obtained by punching. The entire piece is a combination of the naturalistic shape of the animal with the decorative motives. A row of hair locks, hardly visible at ﬁrst glance, is incised above the forehead; it outlines the three wires, two plain and a beaded one in the middle, which border the curly hair imitated by multiple granules of gold. The transitional element set on the back is also ornamented by two rows of beaded wire. This element connects the head with the highly ornamented tube. It is divided into two sections by plain and beaded wires, the intersections are decorated with ﬁligree spirals and the top is marked by three large granules set on the beaded wire rings.
Animal head shaped pendants (rams, calves, lions) were popular amulets since the Archaic period. A very similar pendant is found in the central piece of the elaborate Greek necklace found in the Scythian tumulus of Karagodeuashkh in South Russia, dated to the end of the 4th century B.C. and today in the collection of the Hermitage Museum. CONDITION Essentially preserved; right ear is missing, few fractures, left ear is partially detached, surface of the lower part and the horns are deformed; the loop has a hole, oxides on the granulation. PROVENANCE Ex- British private collection; Ex- US private collection, New York, 2001. PUBLISHED Bull Leapers to Picasso, New York, 2000 (illustrated). BIBLIOGRAPHY ALINESCU A., The Art of Ancient Jewelry, An Introduction to the Burton Y. Berry Collection, Bloomington, 1994, p. 22, ﬁg. 13. ARTAMONOV M. I., The Splendors of Scythian Art, Treasures from Scythian Tombs, London, 1969, p. 80, pl. 319 (necklace from Karagodeuashkh). HOFFMANN H., DAVIDSON P. F., Greek Gold, Jewelry from the Age of Alexander, 1965, pp. 237-238, no. 97. WILLIAMS D., OGDEN J., Greek Gold, Jewelry of the Classical World, p. 160, no. 100, p. 249, no. 188.
HEAD OF ZEUS OR POSEIDON Roman, late 1st – early 2nd century A.D. (18th century bust) Marble H. with bust: 28.9 cm This head, which is currently mounted on a bust dated to the 18th century, would have originally belonged to a statue, about two-thirds of life size, representing an adult male of prime age. The face is entirely framed by an abundant head of hair and a thick beard. The features are idealized, with a subtle though uniform treatment of the skin, which shows no superﬁcial wrinkle. The ears are hidden under the mass of the hair. The hair, by contrast, is remarkably elaborate. It is composed of thick, wavy locks cascading down the shoulders, separated one from the other by deep incisions, which were partially carved using a drill. Above the center of the forehead, an anastole formed of two almost symmetrical locks of hair curls up before falling back to the temples. The beard is treated in the same realistic manner: the locks are shorter but very thick, and terminate in drilled curls. Both the hair and beard are arranged around two central locks that divide them into two halves, emphasizing the vertical axis of the work. The proﬁle view shows that the skull was carved very differently, since the hair is ﬂat and simply incised; it is held in place by a thin strip that encircles the head. All of the details are rendered by a delicate and accurate work, in which the alternating volumes, hollow surfaces, edges and incisions all reﬂect the great skill of the artist. The absence of attributes does not prevent us from identifying the ﬁgure portrayed here or, at least, to suggest a very likely hypothesis. The two major male deities of the Greek pantheon, Zeus (the supreme ruler of the Olympus, god of the sky and air) and his brother Poseidon (the second most famous deity after Zeus, god of the
sea and earthquakes) are indeed depicted with similar features from the Hellenistic period: an adult male, provided with an ample mane of hair, usually embellished with an anastole, and a thick beard, and whose face conveys a reassuring expression but, at the same time, a solemnity suited to a powerful personality. This type, which largely inspired Roman artists in making copies and original creations, characterizes all the images of Zeus or Poseidon, seated on the throne, standing upright or in other stances. Except for the external context (indication of a shrine or a temple, of a city, presence of an attribute or an animal, etc.), there is no evidence however that enables us to conﬁdently distinguish between the two ﬁgures. CONDITION Head in excellent condition; diagonal break on the lower neck, which is virtually complete and also includes the upper right shoulder; nose repaired, minor chips. The surface is very well-preserved. PROVENANCE Ex- European private collection, 18th century; European art market, Rome, early 20th century; European art market, Nice; European art market, Germany, 2013. PUBLISHED Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, 1934, no.1934.1677. BIBLIOGRAPHY Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Vol. VII, 2, Zürich-Münich, 1994, s.v. Poseidon-Neptunus, pp. 352 ff., pp. 379 ff. Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Vol. VIII, 2, Zürich-Düsseldorf, 1997, s.v. Zeus-Jupiter, pp. 230 ff., pp. 270 ff., pp. 278 ff, pp. 283 ff.
â€? This type of bearded head, which largely inspired Roman artists, characterizes all the images of Zeus or Poseidon.â€?
RING WITH CAMEO DEPICTING A CRAB Roman, 1st century A.D. Gold, sardonyx D: 2.8 cm
This elliptically shaped ring was created by hammering a thin sheet of gold; its seam is visible on the interior of the band. It is set with a cameo representing a crab, which is sculpted almost three-dimensionally and emerges clearly from the stone ground. Despite its miniature scale, the crab is carved in a remarkably realistic and precise fashion: one almost expects it to start moving on sand. Representations of crabs, which are generally quite rare, have a long tradition in Graeco-Roman art. From nearly the Archaic period onward, we ﬁnd these crustaceans painted on black ﬁgure ceramics and represented on coins or in glyptic art. At times, they were associated with insects such as scorpions, with ﬁsh, and with other small animals like amphibians or tortoises. In Greek mythology, the crab is a creature that appears only in relation to the labor of Heracles against the Lernean Hydra. During their combat, Hera sent aid to the hydra in the form of a giant crawﬁsh (Karkinos in Greek) that lived in the Lernean Sea. The animal snapped at Heracles with its claws before being defeated by the hero, who became furious at ﬁnding himself thus injured. As a reward for its aid, Hera transported Karkinos into the ﬁrmament, where it became the astrological sign of Cancer.
In Latin, the crab is called cancer; the same term, which is used in numerous contemporary languages, also indicates an illness that is very difﬁcult to treat. It is probably this meaning of the word that provides a plausible explanation for the presence of this crustacean on the stone of an object as personal as a ring: the image of the crab was intended to serve as an amulet that might shield its wearer against the sickness. CONDITION Entirely preserved except for the missing part of the head with the right eye; minor scratches; remains of earth between the legs and claws. PROVENANCE Ex- M.M. private collection, Monaco, collected in the 1980’s. PUBLISHED Phoenix Ancient Art, Greek and Roman Gold, Geneva and New York, 2007, no. 38. BIBLIOGRAPHY LIPPOLD G., Gemmen und Kameen des Altertums und der Neuzeit, Stuttgart, 1922, pl. XCVII, 4, 7, p. 182. RICHTER G. M. A., Animals in Greek Sculpture: A Survey, New York, 1930, p. 86, no. 229, pl. LXV. WALTERS H. B., Catalogue of the Engraved Gems and Cameos, Greek, Etruscan and Roman in the British Museum, London, 1926, p. 250, nos. 2518–2521, pl. XXVIII; see also nos. 594, 916, 1260, 2780. ZAHLHAAS G., Aus Noahs Arche: Tierbilder der Sammlung Mildenberg aus fünf Jahrtausenden, Mainz/ Rhine, 1996, pp. 15–16, no. 6.
BLACK-FIGURE CUP WITH HERACLES Greek (Attic), ca. 540 B.C. Ceramic D: 19.8 cm (without handles) – H: 15 cm Side A: Battle between Heracles and two Centaurs Side B: Apotheosis of Heracles, guided by Athena to be presented to Zeus Decorated in the so-called black-ﬁgure technique, this cup shows many elements in added purple (the fabrics and the body of the centaurs especially) and white paint (as usual, the body of a female ﬁgure, Athena). Incisions indicate details of the anatomy of the ﬁgures (muscles, face, hair, beard, etc.), while the garments and skins are embellished with fringed edges or other decorations. The black paint largely retains its original metallic, shiny luster. Supported by a trumpet-shaped foot, this type of cup is known as a “lip cup” by the archaeologists. It is characterized by a high lip, whose base is slightly recessed in the proﬁle view of the vessel (this feature is mostly visible in the inside of the cup). On the outer surface this projection delineates the upper frieze, simply adorned with small ﬁgural scenes at its center. The sober decoration is organized in two registers: on the lip and on both sides of the handles. The main motif, centered on the ﬁgure of Heracles, is composed of two groups of three ﬁgures. While famous and well-attested in the iconography of Archaic Greece, the two episodes are
not part of the Twelve Labors of Heracles: a) a battle between the hero and two Centaurs: facing right, Heracles raises his club to strike one of the antagonists, holding him back with his left hand; the other centaur runs away to the right. The hero is dressed in a short chiton surmounted by the lion’s skin. b) the Apotheosis of Heracles to Olympus: the hero is guided (almost pulled) by Athena that leads him to the most important god, Zeus, seated at the left, on his throne. Zeus can be identiﬁed both by his attitude and by his usual attribute, the lightning bolt. The scene is perfectly consistent, since Athena is also Heracles half-sister, and their father is Zeus. The lower frieze is decorated with two pairs of palmettes and volutes painted near the handles, and with a long, perfectly legible inscription, which uses the same letters and words on both sides of the vessel. As is often the case for contemporary cups, the vessel speaks directly to the drinker, advising him to drink without excess : CHAIRE KAI PIAIE TNDE, “be happy and drink me!”.
The interior of the cup is painted in black, except for the tondo, simply decorated with two small concentric circles. Along with the krater (a large vessel that served for the mixing of water and wine), the lip cup was the archetypal vessel for the Greek symposion: the guests were given a cup that they kept throughout the evening and in which they drank wine. The “message” delivered by the vessel conﬁrms the link between these various elements. For its technical and artistic qualities, this piece can be compared to many contemporary “Little Masters” cups (whose name refers to the miniature size of their decoration), as evidenced by the accurate style, the balanced composition, and the careful treatment of the ﬁgures and their details. CONDITION Complete and in very good condition, reassembled from several fragments; small repairs in places. Minor chips on the edge and on the foot. PROVENANCE Ex- Maître Maino collection, Mendrisio, Ticino, acquired in the late 1960s; Ex- Ca'dal Portic Gallery, Locarno, 1985; Ex- M. Antonio Mudu collection, Rivera, Ticino; Swiss private collection, acquired in Ticino, 1999. BIBLIOGRAPHY BOARDMAN J., Athenian Black Figure Vases, A Handbook, London, 1997, pp. 58 ff. VIERNEISEL K. et al., Kunst der Schale, Kultur des Trinkens, Munich, 1990, pp. 170-174. On Heracles in general, see: Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC), Vol. IV, Zurich - Munich, 1988, s.v. Herakles, pp. 728 ff.; vol. V, Zurich – Munich, 1990, pp. 1 ff. (see especially nos. 2847 ff. for the introduction to the Olympus). On the battle of the Lapiths and Centaurs, see: Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC), Vol. VII, Zurich – Munich, 1994, s.v. Peirithoos, pp. 232 ff. Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC), Vol. VIII, Zurich – Munich, 1997, s.v. Kentauroi, pp. 671 ff. On the inscriptions and their meaning: LISSARAGUE F., Un flot d’images, une esthétique du banquet grec, Paris, 1987, pp. 60 ff. 54
STATUETTE OF THE GODDESS BASTET Egyptian, Late Period, ca. 712–332 B.C. Bronze H: 12.6 cm The goddess is represented standing in a strictly frontal position. She wears a long pleated tunic with short sleeves, and she holds an aegis formed by the lioness head surmounted by the solar disk in her left hand; there is a sistrum, of which only a fragment of the handle is preserved, in her right hand. A statuette of the god Nefertem represented in the standard iconography is leaning against her shoulder and supported by her left forearm. The image of Bastet gained a great popularity, especially since the Third Intermediate Period following the evolution of the religious feeling of the Egyptians which introduced the multiplication of the protecting deities such as, for example, Bes, Ptah-Pataikos, and the others. The increasing number of the images of Bastet made of faience, stone or metal covered the demand of the ex-votos. Bastet was a clement and mild form of the dangerous goddess Sekhmet, she respectfully appeared under the guise of a she-cat or a lioness because her dreadful character is always accompanies her. Master of all illnesses, she is the patron of the priests-doctors of Sekhmet and the guard of the family home, pregnant women and children. Venerated all around Egypt, her principal sanctuary was at Bubastis (Tell Basta), a town that became capital during the XXIInd Dynasty, which helped to raise the prestige of the goddess. Once in the year, her temple attracted a big crowd of pilgrims from all social levels for the memorable festivities described by Herodotus, where the wine was abundant. For this occasion, the cats which have passed away were brought to the temple and mummiﬁed. According to some scholars, the shape of the pointed
(she-cat) or rounded (lioness) ears indicated if the amulet represented Bastet or the corresponding Sekhmet. The presence of Nefertem, which ﬁrst looks unusual as the attribute of Bastet, could be explained by the close religious and iconographic relationship that united Sekhmet and Bastet. Nefertem was divinity of the Memphis origin, son of Sekhmet and Ptah with whom he forms a popular triad since the New Kingdom. He is closely related to the lotus ﬂower, which was largely used in the Egyptian industry of perfumes: he was venerated as perfume patron and also associated with the solar deity Re because the lotus ﬂower opens each morning at the moment of sunrise. CONDITION Complete and in a good condition, the feet and sistrum are missing, traces of the green oxides on surface over the dark brown patina, solid cast. PROVENANCE Ex- Pierre Vérité collection, Paris, France, 1920’s and thence by descent to the family collection. BIBLIOGRAPHY GUICHARD H., (ed.), Des animaux et des pharaons. Le règne animal dans l’Égypte ancienne, Lens, 2014, pp. 294 ff. LETELLIER B et al., Les animaux dans l’Egypte ancienne, Lyon, 1977, pp. 43 ff. PAGE-GASSER M., WIESE A.B., Egypte. Moments d’éternité. Art égyptien dans les collection privées, Suisse, Mainz/Rhine, 1997, pp. 273-274, no. 184. SCOTT N. E., The Cat of Bastet, in Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 17, 2, 1958, p. 3. WILKINSON R. H., The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, London, 2003, pp. 133-135, 177-178, 181-182.
â€? Bastet was a clement and mild form of the dangerous goddess Sekhmet, she respectfully appeared under the guise of a she-cat or a lioness.â€œ
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Selection of objects Ali Aboutaam and Hicham Aboutaam Project manager Virginie Sélitrenny, Geneva Research Phoenix Ancient Art, Geneva Antiquities Research Center, New York Graphic design mostra-design.com, Geneva Photography Stefan Hagen, New York André Longchamp, Genève
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Phoenix Ancient Art - SPRING MASTERS NYC Catalogue - 2016 N°1 Phoenix Ancient Art is pleased to celebrate the 10th-anniversary of its publis...
Published on May 2, 2016
Phoenix Ancient Art - SPRING MASTERS NYC Catalogue - 2016 N°1 Phoenix Ancient Art is pleased to celebrate the 10th-anniversary of its publis...