GENEVA – NEW YORK 2015 / 29 / EN
PHOENIX ANCIENT ART SA – 2015 / 29
Phoenix Ancient Art is pleased to celebrate the 10th-anniversary of its publishing history. Beginning in 2005, our ﬁrst catalogue presented a number of ancient artworks representing Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Near Eastern, and Western Asiatic art. Since that time, our catalogues continued to introduce objects of the highest artistic quality, as well as those of great historical importance. The format included bilingual catalogue entries and high quality photographs as regular features of these publications. In addition to the annual catalogues, Phoenix Ancient Art introduced several individual publications based on the gallery’s thematic exhibitions. These and other publications were made in collaboration with prominent scholars and museum curators, which is a testimony to the high level of research on the works of art presented. Additionally, the special series of Crystal was produced – bound in hard cover with large plates illustrating additional views of each object and accompanied by comprehensive catalogue entries. Thus, the previous decade of high quality publications were designed to showcase outstanding works of art from ancient Western civilizations. With this current catalogue, the gallery acknowledges the variety of these previous publications, and presents a new approach as future catalogues will be published more frequently with a smaller number of specially selected artworks. This publication initiates the new series and features ﬁfteen works of art that are remarkable for their excellent state of preservation, artistic workmanship, and importance for the study of the art, culture, and history of the ancient world. Among the ﬁne works presented here, two sculptures remain absolutely outstanding. The magniﬁcent black marble bust of Alexander the Great (no.5) from the Roman Imperial period, al-
though an idealized portrait, still maintains all the characteristic features of Alexander’s iconography – his captivating gaze, while engaging, is also otherworldly and ethereal. This image relates it to the work of Alexander’s famous court sculptor, Lysippos, who is known for having given portraits of Alexander a sharp and penetrating look. In his role as king, Alexander is also depicted with a regal aura, and the rendering of his full locks of hair portray the ruler as both virile and leonine, a heroic aspect of Alexander that is attested by ancient texts. As with portraits of Alexander the Great created after his death in 323 B.C., this work demonstrates the far reaching inﬂuence of his idealized image. The Hellenistic marble head of a queen or a goddess (no.10), given its harmonious classical appearance, excellent workmanship, and large scale, certainly belongs to a ﬁgure that was part of an important sculpture such as a cult statue, or a commemorative or funerary monument. As a goddess she may have represented Demeter, Hera, Aphrodite, or perhaps one of the Horae, the personiﬁcations of the seasons. As a mortal being the sculpture may portray one of the two most inﬂuential women of the Greco-Egyptian Ptolemaic dynasty: Arsinoe II or Berenice II. Or perhaps a princess from one of the Hellenistic kingdoms of the early 3rd century B.C. Purely Greek in its style, the woman’s full, youthful face possesses the prominent chin, large eyes, straight nose, and full lips that are features of both female and male sculptural representations during the Classical and Late Classical periods. The pieces presented in this issue possess even more than just aesthetic appeal; their importance lies in the historical information, unique stories, culture, and spiritual life of different civilizations.
STATUETTE OF A BULL
STATUE OF A ROMAN IN THE GUISE OF HERMES/MERCURY
BLACK-FIGURE COLUMN KRATER WITH HERACLES FIGHTING NESSUS
BUST OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT
RING WITH VENUS AND EROS
STATUETTE OF A HORSE
JEWELRY GROUP WITH ALEXANDER THE GREAT CAMEO
HEAD OF A QUEEN OR A GODDESS
RED-FIGURE KYLIX (ATTRIBUTED TO THE AMBROSIOS PAINTER)
OPENWORK ARCHITECTURAL PANEL
STANDING MALE STATUETTE
STANDING MALE STATUETTE
” Zeus (the “king” of the Greek gods) was known for taking the form of a glorious white bull when he was among mortals.“
STATUETTE OF A BULL Hellenistic Greek, 3rd − 1st century B.C. Bronze H: 15.5 cm This beautiful statuette representing a bull was cast in bronze, using the lost-wax process. It is composed of several elements made separately and then soldered; the body is hollow, but the legs and the head are in solid metal. The animal stands, with its legs slightly staggered, in a calm attitude that reﬂects a sturdy conﬁdence and that seems to come from its extraordinary physical strength. Its head is raised and turned to the right, and appears to look into the distance. The outstanding technical and artistic qualities of this piece reveal the great sensitivity of the artist for naturalism, with the harmonious proportions, the strong, accurate modeling and the close attention to detail. The whole body shows powerful, though limber, muscles and ﬁnely incised, engraved and modeled anatomical details that carefully recreate the anatomy of the bovid. There are small decorative incisions in such places as the ears, the scrotum and the penile sheath, and especially on the forehead and between the horns. The long tail with a bushy tip curls proudly above the croup; the horns are long and curved. The almond-shaped eyes, with the incised pupils and irises, framed by brows and clearly marked skin folds, convey a certain strength of character. Bronze representations of animals were very popular in Greek art, from the Bronze Age up to the Greco-Roman period, in an uninterrupted continuum. Bulls were among the favorite subjects for such representations because of their symbolic link with power, virility and strength. Images of bulls appear as ex-votos in many Hellenistic sanctuaries (Olympia, Delphi, Dodona Cabirion of Thebes, etc.), more particularly in the shrines dedicated to Zeus and more rarely in those dedicated to Poseidon. Associated with these two major deities, bulls played an impor-
tant part in many myths, especially those recounting the exploits of Zeus. One could even imagine that the present statuette, characterized by its aura and calm strength, represents the god himself, since Zeus (the “king” of the Greek gods) was known for taking the form of a glorious white bull when he was among mortals. Moreover, our current knowledge of religion attests the importance of bulls in the religious practices of ancient Greece; the bull was one of the most prestigious offerings both in ofﬁcial and civic rites and in private ceremonies. The signiﬁcance of bulls as sacriﬁcial and votive animals would also have been related to the fundamental economic importance of bovids in a society where livestock farming and agriculture played a key role. Cattle were a major source of food (the meat of the sacriﬁces was consumed by humans, while only the entrails were burned and dedicated to the deities); furthermore, they represented a substantial workforce on the land and provided an essential raw material in the tannery. Our statuette, which has no real parallel, is quite different from the many depictions of bulls and oxen from the Ptolemaic and Roman periods (this is not an Apis bull, since it is not decorated on the upper neck or on the head). The closest parallels can be found in the Hellenistic Greek world and come from continental sanctuaries. It is worth mentioning, in particular, the statuette from the Cabirion of Thebes, now housed in the Louvre, and the example in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum, found at Preveza, though probably from the sanctuary of Zeus at Dodona. The absence of other parallels does not enable us to determine a precise date for the present statuette, but all three pieces are thought to have been produced between the 4th and the 1st century B.C.
CONDITION Virtually complete and in very good condition, but hooves and end of the left horn lost. Minor dents in places (muzzle); hole in the wall of the metal at the neck. Beautiful green patina; minor concretions and traces of soil. PROVENANCE Ex-P. Hartmann Collection, Geneva, 1975. BIBLIOGRAPHY DEVAMBEZ P., Grands bronzes du MusĂŠe de Stamboul, Paris, 1937, pp. 29-33, pl. VII (statuette in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum). SCHMALTZ B., Metallfiguren aus dem Kabirenheiligtum bei Theben: Die Statuetten aus Bronze und Blei, Berlin, 1980, pl. 21, no. 350 (statuette in the Louvre, inv. 16899).
RIBBED BOWL Roman, 1st century A.D. Cobalt blue glass H: 4.5 cm - D: 16 cm
This shallow, thick-walled bowl is outstanding both for its excellent state of preservation and for its perfect shape. It was worked in a beautiful cobalt blue glass; the horizontal lines were incised by grinding as the piece was rotated on a lathe. The tall, smooth rim is barely rounded; the inner decoration is embellished by two incised lines near the bottom and by a small central circle. The slightly concave base provides the vessel with good balance. The bowl is simply adorned with a horizontal frieze of vertical ribs, engraved on the lower body; their presence recalls the metallic origin of the vessel, inspired by the gadroon vases made of precious metal. The obvious differences between each rib prove that they were not molded, but rather handmade after the body was modeled. According to modern experiments, it appears that the craftsman could produce these vessels very quickly by simply placing a very hot glass disk
on a semispherical mold, which was then spun on a potter’s wheel. Given its ﬂexibility, the hot glass adapted perfectly to the mold proﬁle. The rim and the ribs were then shaped immediately (during the rotation of the lathe) using a short stick on the edge and another longer, narrower stick on the body. This process allowed the bowl to be manufactured rapidly (in about a minute, according to some modern tests); indeed, in order to meet the incredible success of this form, the craftsman had to work as fast as possible, while ensuring excellent quality. Ribbed cups and bowls can differ greatly in their type and color. The ﬁrst examples of ribbed bowls date back to the second quarter of the 1st century B.C.; from the middle of that century, the shape suffered a minor variation, with the adoption of a ﬂatter or slightly concave bottom, which made the vessel more stable. Their production increased considerably from the late Hellenistic
period on and continued during the 1st century of the Empire with a very elaborate typology and various dimensions. The most common colors were ﬁrst orange-brown, cobalt blue and aubergine; these were gradually replaced by light blue, dark and light green around the mid-1st century A.D., when the taste for bright colors became old-fashioned. These bowls were largely used as tableware across the Mediterranean world, from Italy to the more western and northern colonies of the Empire, from the Aegean to Anatolia and the Levant. CONDITION Complete and in good condition, but reglued from several fragments. Superﬁcial wear and minor chips. PROVENANCE Ex-Japanese private collection, assembled in the 1980s-1990s. BIBLIOGRAPHY On the production of these vessels and on some related examples, see: ARVEILLER-DULONG V. and NENNA M.-D., Les verres antiques du Musée du Louvre : Vol. I, Contenants à parfum en verre moulé sur noyau et vaisselle moulée, VIIe siècle av. J.-C.-Ier siècle apr. J.-C., Paris, 2000, pp. 187-193. GROSE D.F., The Toledo Museum of Art: Early Ancient Glass, New York, 1989, pp. 72-79 (technique) and 307 ff. LIERKE R., Antike Glastöpferei: Ein vergessenes Kapitel der Glasgeschichte, Mainz/Rhine, 1999, pp. 51 ff. (technique). MATHESON S.B., Ancient Glass in the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 1980, pp. 14-16. 10
STATUE OF A ROMAN IN THE GUISE OF HERMES/MERCURY Roman, late 1st – 2nd century A.D. Marble H: 145 cm This marble statue, though damaged, is impressive both in size and for the classical beauty of the naked athletic body. It depicts a young man standing in a relaxed pose. The stance is characterized by the arrested movement; the left arm is bent to hold an object, while the weight of the body is supported by the right leg; this allows the left leg to be slightly bent and positioned in front of the other and the right arm (now missing) to be lowered. The entire composition reﬂects a contrapposto of relaxed and tensed limbs; their balance deﬁnes the stance. A mantle is thrown over the ﬁgure’s left shoulder; in front, the folds of the overlap are rounded; behind, the folds form parallel lines. A large oval fibula fastens the folds at the shoulder. Though broken here, the surviving statues of similar composition show a long mantle wound around the wrist and falling along the leg. A fragment of what appears to be a spear is held in the left hand; the two struts that connected the object to the mantle remain (a necessary feature required by the technique of carving the extended and thus fragile parts of marble ﬁgures). In addition, the whole statue was supported by a tree trunk rising from the ground up to the top of the right thigh (trace still visible). The statue was designed to be installed against a wall or inside a niche, as the rough treatment of the marble surface at the back suggests. In Hellenistic and Roman art, the ﬁgure of a naked young man can represent a god, a hero or an individual. As regards to the present statue, no speciﬁc attribute has entirely survived to indicate a particular god. The combination of attributes such as the spear and the mantle may indicate the attire of a hero. Diomedes, who participated in the Trojan War, became a legendary warrior, behind only Achilles in prowess; he was worshipped as a divine being in ancient Greece and Italy. Our statue is analogous to the Diomedes statue from Cumae (Naples National Archae-
ological Museum); the surviving head that turns towards the bent arm with the spear helps to visualize the complete composition of our statue. The long mantle, which is draped over the shoulder and leaves the body completely naked, is also characteristic of Hellenistic and Roman portrait statues, whose athletic bodies present them in the heroicized manner. Heroic nudity was especially accepted in Roman commemorative and funerary monuments. For instance, emperors were represented in the guise of Jupiter, Mars and Diomedes. Explicit examples are two statues of Augustus’ heirs, his adoptive grandsons Gaius Caesar and Lucius Caesar (who died prematurely), from the Julian Basilica in Corinth (Archaeological Museum of Ancient Corinth). Their perfectly built bodies, similar to the body of the Diomedes statue from Cumae, carefully copy the illustrious Polykleitan type of male statuary. The statue of Trajan in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, whose body clearly recalls the Doryphoros statue by Polykleitos, represents the ideal portrait of the emperor. It is noteworthy that the rendering of the overlap of the mantle, which covers the left part of Trajan’s chest, is very similar to that of our statue. This helps to establish the date of our statue; furthermore, the high quality and considerable size of the piece suggest that it too portrays a Roman emperor. However, a closer look at the remains of the supposed spear reveals a small relief at the side, which may be the tip of a snake’s tail. If this is correct, the object in the hand could be a caduceus, not a spear; thus, the man was represented in the guise of Hermes/Mercury, the god of trade and messenger of the Olympian gods. The large marble statue of Mercury found in the theatre of Perga (Antalya Archaeological Museum) has an almost complete caduceus; one can see the strut that attaches its upper section to the shoulder and, most importantly, the relief of the tails of the snakes similar to our piece.
A number of statues of Romans represented in the guise of Hermes/Mercury holding his attributes (caduceus, purse) have survived to this day; among them, the most distinguished is a statue of a julio-claudian prince from the Esquiline Hill (Louvre). It shows that the members of the Imperial house and the emperors themselves adopted such iconography to express the idea that they brought peace and concord to their people. It is even known that Caligula (Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars: Caligula, 52.2) and later Commodus (Cassius Dio, Roman History, LXXIII, 17.3 and LXXIII, 19.4) on occasion carried the caduceus in public. A powerful and evocative ﬁgure, this sculpture ultimately draws its inspiration from works by the famous Greek sculptor Polykleitos, who was active from about 460 to 410 B.C. Of the many artists that ﬂourished during the Classical period in Greece, no one earned the title of a great sculptor with more enthusiasm in his own age and later than this master. His striving for perfection achieved through balance and symmetry is the essence of Classical sculpture. His aim was to convey clarity of form, balance and completeness; his medium of communication was the nude body of a muscular male ﬁgure, poised between movement and repose. Working almost exclusively in bronze, all of his 5th century B.C. originals are now lost to us. Fortunately, the profound inﬂuence that he exerted on his contemporaries, which extended down to artists of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, assured that full-scale close copies of his works continued to be made, as well as new works and even portrait statues in his style.
” A powerful and evocative figure, this sculpture ultimately draws its inspiration from works by the famous Greek sculptor Polykleitos.“
CONDITION Incomplete. Missing parts: head, right arm below the shoulder, both legs below the knees, lower part of the mantle, spear, penis, plinth and support. Broken parts of the knees and the left thigh reassembled. Several chips, especially on the folds of the mantle and at the back. Some concretions at the back. Light patina. PROVENANCE Ex-Lady Gore-Booth Collection, Lissadell House, Ireland, probably collected on the occasion of the “Grand Tour” in the 19th century; private collection, acquired on the British art market in 1980. BIBLIOGRAPHY Antalya Museum, Antalya, 2005, p. 247, no. 125. BECK H., BOL P.C. and BÜCKLING M. (eds.), Polyklet: Der Bildhauer der griechischen Klassik, Mainz/Rhine, 1990. BOARDMAN J., Greek Sculpture: The Classical Period, London, 1985, pp. 205-206, ﬁgs. 184-187. CLARK K., The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form, New York, 1956, pp. 63-72. HALLETT C.H., The Roman Nude: Heroic Portrait Statuary, 200 B.C.-300 A.D., Oxford, 2005, pp. 172-174, 199200, 235-238 and 243. KLEINER D.E.E., Roman Sculpture, New Haven-London, 1992, pp. 72-74, ﬁgs. 48 and 50. MADERNA C., Iuppiter, Diomedes und Merkur als Vorbilder für römische Bildnisstatuen, Heidelberg, 1988, pp. 56-116; 196-222, pl. 18-20 and 26. MOON W.G. (ed.), Polykleitos, the Doryphoros and Tradition, Madison, 1995. RICHTER G.M.A., The Sculpture and Sculptors of the Greeks, New Haven, 1950, pp. 246-255. STEWART A., Greek Sculpture: An Exploration, New Haven-London, 1990, pp. 160-163, ﬁgs. 378-390. STEWART A., The Canon of Polykleitos: A Question of Evidence, in Journal of Hellenic Studies, 98, 1978, pp. 122-131. TOBIN R., The Canon of Polykleitos, in American Journal of Archaeology, 79.4, 1975, pp. 307-321.
” The episode tells of the arrival of Heracles and Deianira at the Evinos River in flood, in Etolia. The centaur Nessus offered to carry the young woman across the river and…“
BLACK-FIGURE COLUMN KRATER WITH HERACLES FIGHTING NESSUS Attic, middle of the 6th century B.C. Ceramic H: 42.5 cm – D: 45.5 cm This vessel is decorated in the so-called blackﬁgure technique, a process developed in Corinth at the end of the 7th century B.C. It was later adopted by the Athenians, who made it their own and brought it to its peak in the second half of the 6th century B.C. This decorative method is characterized by patterns and ﬁgures painted with a clay slurry. The clay vitriﬁed and turned black during the ﬁring process. The painted scenes thus perfectly adhered to the body of the vessel. The structural details were simply incised into the slip, so that the underlying red clay could be seen through the scratches. The other details were highlighted in red and white. The shape of the vessel recalls that of a large column krater, with the heart-shaped body, the straight-walled neck, the echinus foot and the near-vertical, cylindrical handles, or columns, which give this type of vessel its name. This is
one of the most important and distinctive forms of Attic pottery in the 6th-5th century B.C. The world of Greek banqueting, especially in Attica, literally develops around the krater, which was placed in the center of the room dedicated to the symposium and contained the mixture of wine and water that was poured into the guests’ drinking cups. The vessel has a very harmonious shape, with smooth and perfect contours. The painted decoration mainly covers the belly (frieze of rays, black-glazed strip, ﬁgural scene, bestiary scene encircling the entire body); but it also occupies the upper lip (series of successive scrolls) and the small plates surmounting each column (head of a bearded male ﬁgure, possibly a satyr). The main scene, topped by a traditional frieze of languettes alternating in black and red highlights, represents Heracles ﬁghting Nessus, the
centaur (half-man, half-horse), threatening him with his club in his right hand, while grasping one of the beast’s upper limbs with his left hand. On both sides of this central area are various ﬁgures witnessing the scene, which ends, on each side, with a sphinx (female bust, lion’s body, eagle’s wings). The identiﬁcation of the scene enables us to suggest that the woman represented directly behind the divine hero is his wife, Deianira, who precedes Heracles’ faithful companion, Iolaus, his nephew and charioteer. Widely illustrated in ancient times (black-ﬁgure and red-ﬁgure pottery, mosaics), this mythological episode tells of the arrival of Heracles and Deianira at the Evinos River in ﬂood, in Etolia. The centaur Nessus offered to carry the young woman across the river and then tried to assault her. The reaction of Heracles was immediate and he killed the centaur. The myth recounts that Nessus, in a ﬁnal act of malice just before he died, told Deianira that the blood spilling from his wound could be used as a love potion, if need be. Deianira later daubed this blood on a garment she had woven for Heracles, hoping
it would renew his love for her. The blood, of course, was not a love potion, but a deadly poison instead; it burned Heracles’ skin and ﬁnally brought about the hero’s death (cf. Sophocles, Women of Trachis). The other side of the vessel is decorated with a bestiary scene of the secondary type, typical of the ceramic productions of the time. A siren, (half-woman, half-bird) with her wings spread, is ﬂanked by a couple of panthers, posing majestically and ﬂaunting long curved tails that spiral above their rumps. Behind them, on either side in the area situated below the handles, are swans with rounded necks and arched wings. Typically for this style of ornamentation, several rosettes embellish each of the represented scenes. The present krater can easily be classiﬁed among the Attic creations of the mid-6th century B.C. It may also be related to the productions of the artists of the Lydos Group and more speciﬁcally attributed to the Painter of the Louvre F6.
CONDITION Reassembled from large fragments. PROVENANCE Ex-Lambert Collection, Neuchâtel, acquired before 1972; then by descent, property of Dina Lambert, Switzerland. BIBLIOGRAPHY BEAZLEY J.D., The Development of Attic Black-Figure, Berkeley, 1986, pp. 35 ff. (especially p. 45, comparison between Lydos and the Painter of the Louvre F6). Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC), Vol. VI, Zurich-Munich, 1992, s.v. Nessus, pp. 534 ff. (especially nos. 40 ff.) and 838 ff. (especially Heracles-Nessus-Deianira and Heracles attacking Nessus with a club). On a related vessel attributed to the Painter of the Louvre F6, see: Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum: Boston, Museum of Fine Arts 2, Boston, 1978, pl. 060-061. On another column krater attributed to the same artist, representing Heracles ﬁghting Nessus, see: Beazley Archive Pottery Database, no. 24483. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum: Thessaloniki, Archaeological Museum 1, Athens, 1998, pp. 238-239 and 244, ﬁgs. 4-5, pl. 26.5, 27.1-4 and 32.1-2. 21
BUST OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT Roman, Imperial period, 1st century A.D. Black marble H: 42 cm Many portraits of Alexander the Great produced after his lifetime, like this splendid bust, tended to follow the models created by his appointed court sculptor, Lysippos. The features of the black marble head, such as the slight turn of the head, prominent brow, accentuated and deepset eyes and long thick locks of leonine hair, are all hallmarks of Alexander’s image. The characteristic “anastole” hairstyle, the form of upswept central curls above the forehead, is also a typical feature of Alexander’s portraits. The slightly parted lips, full and bow-shaped, lend an almost sensuous nature to the portrait. The heavy brow creates a shadow over the eyes that intensify his expression and the psychological power of his image.
came to represent the concept of kingship throughout the Hellenistic period, while their prominent display was meant to assist his successors with the appropriation of his heritage.
The captivating gaze is engaging; at the same time, it is otherworldly and ethereal. This also clearly relates the present sculpture to the work of Lysippos, who is known to have given portraits of Alexander a sharp and penetrating look. Beﬁttingly, given his role as king, Alexander was regularly depicted with a regal aura and, here, the rendering of his full locks of hair portrays the ruler as both virile and leonine, an aspect of Alexander that is attested by ancient texts.
This custom continued, particularly in the Roman Imperial period, a time during which emperors drew parallels between themselves and selected gods and heroes of the Greek world. Noted as a mortal being that became a hero and subsequently a god, the image of Alexander the Great was perfectly suited to serve in this role. It is not known whether the original ancient location of this piece was in the public space of an ofﬁcial structure, such as a temple, library or administrative center. Wealthy and cultivated Romans would engage the topic of the power of Alexander’s notable personality, his superhuman accomplishments and human fate with their philosophical discourses; it would not be surprising to ﬁnd his image in the intimacy of a domestic setting, like the atrium or garden of a private villa.
As with later images of Alexander the Great created after his death in 323 B.C., this piece demonstrates the inﬂuence of his idealized image. The cult of Alexander as king spread throughout Hellenistic kingdoms as a means of consolidating newly conquered lands under the administration of his generals. Images of Alexander
Moreover, the deiﬁed Alexander was ever young, his image gloriﬁed and surpassing that of other gods and heroes. Given the extensive posthumous cult of Alexander as a god, commemorative monuments with his portraits could be found throughout the whole Hellenistic world. The characteristic features of the type preserved here are also found in the head of the later statue of Alexander dated to Hadrianic times and found in the theatre of Perga (Antalya Archaeological Museum).
The famous Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum contained a substantial collection of bronze busts representing Hellenistic rulers, Greek poets and philosophers, thus illustrating the cultural preferences of the Roman elite. The busts belonged to the herms fitting into the marble pillars of the villa. The present head was used in exactly the same way, as suggested by the rounded shape of the cut in the lower part of the neck and the chest. Some may argue that the color of the stone suggests the appearance of bronze. The early part of the Imperial period is especially famous for the appreciation of the chromatic and pictorial values of stone, a fashion that arrived in Rome following the conquest of Hellenistic
Egypt. The workmanship evident in this head reflects the Egyptian taste for the combination of contrasting rough and smooth surfaces. Furthermore, the color of the marble is similar to certain other examples of hard stone, such as basalt and basanite, in which the portraits of pharaohs and the statues of gods were previously executed, as well as the portraits of the first conquerors, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, sculpted in Egypt in the 1st century B.C. This unique portrait of Alexander the Great in black marble belongs to the same artistic tradition. As the most significant quarries in Egypt fell under imperial jurisdiction with the reign of Augustus, such a head could only be commissioned by a person of a very important administrative status and/or high social rank.
” Befittingly, given his role as king, Alexander was regularly depicted with a regal aura and, here, the rendering of his full locks of hair portrays the ruler as both virile and leonine, an aspect of Alexander that is attested by ancient texts.“
CONDITION Complete and in excellent condition; surface very well preserved. Nose broken, eyebrows chipped. Minor damage on the hair; large chip on the neck.
PROVENANCE Ex-Florent Dalcq (1878-1950) Collection, Belgium, acquired in Brussels in the 1930s, with the assistance of the architect Baron Victor Horta; then by descent, ex-Dr. L. Collection, Switzerland, since 1950. BIBLIOGRAPHY BIEBER M., Alexander the Great in Greek and Roman Art, Chicago, 1964. KIILERICH B., The Public Image of Alexander the Great, in CARLSEN J., DUE B., STEEN O. and POULSEN B. (eds.), Alexander the Great: Reality and Myth, Rome, 1993. MORENO P., L’immagine di Alessandro Magno nell’opera di Lisippo e di altri artisti contemporanei, in CARLSEN J., DUE B., STEEN O. and POULSEN B. (eds.), Alexander the Great: Reality and Myth, Rome, 1993. SMITH R.R.R., Hellenistic Royal Portraits, Oxford 1988, pp. 58-64. STEWART A., Faces of Power: Alexander’s Image and Hellenistic Politics, Berkeley, 1993. YALOURIS N. et al., The Search for Alexander, Boston, 1980. On Alexander’s statue from Perga, see: MORENO P., L’immagine di Alessandro nella maniera classica (323-301 a.C.), in DI VITA A. – ALFANO C., Alessandro Magno: Storia e mito, Milan, 1995, pp. 207-208. 26
RING WITH VENUS AND EROS Roman, 1st century A.D. Gold and agate Dim: 2.2 x 2.6 cm The goddess is depicted here as Venus Victrix (“Victorious”), since she carries the weapons of a hoplite. In her left hand, she holds a spear adorned with a ribbon; in her right hand stretching forward, she holds a sword provided with a belt to be hung over the shoulder. The equipment is completed by a bronze helmet held out by Eros. The child-god, entirely naked, stands in front of Venus, arching backward.
This classical-shaped ring features a circular and regular band surmounted by an elliptical cabochon cut from a black agate with horizontal white striations. The scene that adorns the gem is ﬁnely carved “in the hollow”. It represents two of the most famous mythological ﬁgures in the early Roman Imperial period: Venus (Aphrodite to the Greeks), the goddess of love, and her young companion, the little Eros, who can be identiﬁed by his wings. Venus is seen in three-quarter view from behind. The weight of her body is supported by her right leg, while only the tip of her left foot touches the ground. Except for a cloak wrapped around her left arm and falling to her feet, Venus is nude. The proportions are harmonious and the body has a sinuous grace. Her face is shown in proﬁle; she has her hair gathered in a bun behind her nape.
The scene depicted on this ring was very famous in the Roman world in the late Republican and early Imperial period. According to the historian Cassius Dio* (155-235 A.D.), the seal of Julius Caesar (and, after him, Augustus) was decorated with Venus Victrix. This image therefore became a symbol of his supporters and later of Imperial power. The iconography of Venus (she appears on gems, as is the case here, but also on many coins, from the time of Caesar to the emperors of the 2nd century A.D.) seems to have been established at the time of Augustus and to have been inspired, according to some archeologists, by a model created in the Hellenistic period. The variant represented here, with Eros accompanying the goddess of love, was attested as of the time of Augustus and, although it is generally rarer than the versions depicting Venus alone, it was very popular, especially in glyptics.
*Cassius Dio text: Cassius Dio, Roman History, XLIII, 43.3: “In general, he (Julius Caesar) was absolutely devoted to Venus and he was anxious to persuade everybody that he had received from her a kind of bloom of youth. Accordingly, he used also to wear a carven image of her in full armor on his ring and he made her name his watchword in almost all the greatest dangers.” (http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/ Texts/Cassius_Dio/43*.html)
CONDITION Complete and in excellent condition; traces of dents, minor superﬁcial wear. Chip on the agate, near the feet of Eros. PROVENANCE With Phoenix Ancient Art, Geneva, late 1980s; ex-private collection, London; Christie’s, New York, December 7, 2011, Lot 390. BIBLIOGRAPHY FURTWÄNGLER A., Die antiken Gemmen, Amsterdam-Osnabrück, 1965. Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC), Vol. VIII, Zurich-Munich, 1997, s.v. Venus, pp. 211-212, nos. 196-207. SENA CHIESA G., Gemme del Museo Nazionale di Aquileia, Padua, 1966, pp. 158 ff., nos. 248-272. ZWIERLEIN-DIEHL E., Die antiken Gemmen des Kunsthistorischen Museums in Wien, Munich, 1979, pp. 198 ff., nos. 1460-1481.
STATUETTE OF A HORSE Greek, Argos, Geometric period, 8th century B.C. Bronze H : 7.6 cm – L : 6.4 cm This statuette depicts a horse standing alert on its four legs. The shape is both highly stylized and elegant, with a short and very slim cylindrical body and rounded hindquarters that taper down to thin legs. The long tail curls energetically towards the hooves and is almost attached to them. The blade-like neck emerges from the shoulders in a graceful curve that holds the head high. The small ears point forward; this, along with its erect posture, gives the animal an air of pride and alertness. A depression visible on one side of the head models the eye. No engraving represents additional details of the anatomy; however, the indication of the animal’s sex is notable. Ownership of horses during the Geometric period was a sign of prestige and wealth, as their maintenance involved great expense. Greek mythology made the horse a favorite animal of both gods and heroes.
sanctuaries as votive offerings. Statuettes with bases were exclusively votive offerings. Larger objects, such as tripods dedicated to sanctuaries, were considered to be the most signiﬁcant and valuable offerings.
The statuette is solid-cast in one piece. The areas of the bronze surface that are free of oxides reveal the perfect smoothness of the original blackish patina. This piece is not attached to the usual rectangular base; instead, the pairs of hooves are connected by a crossbar (still in place), indicating that the statuette was ﬁxed to some kind of device that made it part of a bigger composition.
BIBLIOGRAPHY COMSTOCK M.B. and VERMEULE C.C., Greek, Etruscan and Roman Bronzes in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 1971, pp. 7-10. HOFFMANN H., Ten Centuries that Shaped the West, Mainz/Rhine, 1970, pp. 117-129. ROLLEY C., Greek Bronzes, London, 1986, p. 234. VON BOTHMER D. (ed.), Glories of the Past: Ancient Art from the Shelby White and Leon Levy Collection, New York, 1990, pp. 92-96. ZIMMERMANN J.-L., Les chevaux de bronze dans l’art géométrique grec, Mainz/Rhine, 1989, pp. 18-59.
In Greek art, ﬁgurines of horses often surmounted lids and handles of certain vessels; they decorated handles of bronze tripod cauldrons, which could well be the case for the present piece. Other similar ﬁgurines of horses were used as pendants; some were suspended in
The style indicates that this piece comes from an Argive workshop. Most of the known Argive horses were found in the sanctuary of Hera in Argos. CONDITION Complete and in excellent condition. Surface slightly worn and covered with a smooth patina consisting of copper oxide and corrosion products (especially on the inside of the legs). PROVENANCE Ex-US private collection, New York, acquired on December 17, 1990.
CHIMERA'S FOOT Greco-Roman, 2nd century B.C. – 2nd century A.D. Bronze H: 35.9 cm This impressive fragment of a feline foot cast in bronze, using the lost-wax process, probably belonged to the right hind leg of a monumental statue of a Chimera, a most fantastic and monstrous creature in Classical art. Greek mythology imagined the beast as a full lion’s body with a tail ending in a snake’s head and a goat’s head growing out of its back. Homer described the Chimera as “a thing of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle, and snorting out the breath of the terrible ﬂame of bright ﬁre” (Iliad, 6, 179-182). At the command of King Iobates of Lycia, Bellerophon, the Corinthian hero, with the help of Pegasus, the winged horse, defeated the Chimera. Since Pegasus could ﬂy, Bellerophon slayed the Chimera from the air, out of reach of its snapping heads and ﬁery breath. Few representations of the Chimera have survived from ancient Greek and Etruscan art. The most striking among them is the large bronze statue created by an Etruscan sculptor around 400 B.C. (now housed in the National Archaeological Museum in Florence). Found in 1553 in Arezzo, it immediately became famous as an exceptional piece of Classical bronze sculpture and because of it being a complete representation of one of the most legendary creatures known only through mythological tales; the identiﬁcation with the Chimera was made by the artist and historian Giorgio Vasari. The inscription on the statue’s right foreleg identiﬁes the piece as being a votive offering dedicated to Tinia, the Etruscans’ supreme deity. Compared to the Chimera of Arezzo, the present feline foot clearly demonstrates an advanced knowledge of a lion’s anatomy. The more naturalistic representation also suggests the date
of the piece within the Greco-Roman period. Multiple details of a lion’s toe bones and joints appear along with the fur, beautifully sculpted and incised. It is interesting to observe that the actual paw is almost completely covered by long strands of fur; with the protractible claws thus less visible, this would indicate the relatively docile attitude of the creature. Then again, the sharp, strong claws protrude above and beyond the massive pads, the foot appears to spring, a great tension affects all muscles, the leg is bent forward; this suggests that the composition of the whole ﬁgure was intended to convey an attitude of aggressive attack or defense. It may well be that the statuette was not a single ﬁgure in isolation; indeed, it is possible that it was part of a group which included the Chimera, Bellerophon and Pegasus. Examples from Greek vase painting, mosaics, engraved gems and terracotta reliefs show two major variants of the composition, i.e. the Chimera attacking Bellerophon, or Bellerophon on horseback spearing the cowering beast; the sharp angle of the bent leg corresponds better to the latter variant. What is also apparent from the size of the present fragment is that the whole ﬁgure was larger than the famous Chimera of Arezzo. If the sculptural group was a votive offering to a temple (as was the case for the Chimera now housed in Florence), this leads to further intriguing conclusions. The sculptural group could have been an enormous pyramidal composition, similar to the Farnese Bull, typical of the “baroque” style of the Late Hellenistic period. Such a group would have constituted a very expensive commission from someone inﬂuential and wealthy and an important temple dedication beneﬁting from a prominent setting on the temple’s premises.
â€? This impressive fragment of a feline foot, probably belonged to the right hind leg belonged to a monumental statue of a Chimera, a most fantastic and monstrous creature in Classical art.â€œ
CONDITION Only the end of the hind leg preserved, probably the right one. Minor cracks and corrosion. Beautiful green patina. PROVENANCE Ex-US private collection, New York, acquired on May 14, 1991. BIBLIOGRAPHY COHEN B., New Light on a Master Bronze from Etruria, in American Journal of Archaeology, 114.3, 2010. HAYNES S., Etruscan Bronzes, London, 1985, p. 302, no. 156. The Chimaera of Arezzo, Malibu, 2009. 34
JEWELRY GROUP WITH ALEXANDER THE GREAT CAMEO Late Hellenistic Greek, 2nd − 1st century B.C. Gold, cameo glass, glass, amethyst, rock crystal and garnet Necklace L: 22 cm − Earrings L: 5.8 cm − Bracelets D: 7.3 cm This set of jewelry consists of a necklace, a pair of earrings and a pair of bracelets made of gold and inlaid with glass and gemstones. The necklace is formed by a twisted gold wire with loops at each end, ﬁve large oval cabochons and a cameo pendant. The cabochons are two amethysts, two light yellow rock crystal pieces and one dark green glass piece in gold settings. The pendant is a large cameo in a gold setting suspended from additional twisted wires below the central cabochon of green glass. The cameo portrait consists of two layers (dark for the background and white for the head) and represents Alexander the Great in the guise of Heracles, the mythological ancestor of the royal Macedonian family. One of Heracles’ renowned attributes (which recalls his ﬁrst heroic deed, i.e. slaying the Nemean lion), the lion skin, is placed as a helmet on Alexander’s head, while the lion’s paws are tied in a knot on his chest. Alexander is portrayed as deiﬁed; he wears a laurel wreath. The composition of this noble and beautiful proﬁle is deﬁnitely inspired by the image on the coins issued during his lifetime; however, the laurel wreath proper is a feature of the king’s posthumous cult following introduced by his successors. The pendant with the cameo is one of the ﬁnest among this class of jewelry. The necklace as a whole belongs to the famous type of Hellenistic necklace with bezel-set stones and central pendant, which continued to be popular throughout the Roman Imperial period (mostly those with the butterﬂy-shaped pendants found in the northern Black Sea area).
Each earring has a tripartite pyramidal composition. The center is formed by a disk mounted with a round garnet cabochon in a band setting, surrounded by rope braid and ďŹ ligree wire. There are two pins above and two posts below the disk, which held the pierced gemstones or pearls now lost. The top has a triangular shape and includes a drop-like setting for another stone also lost. The lower part has three suspended elements: two lateral chains and an amphoriskos in the middle. This elegant miniature vessel has a narrow neck with two symmetrical scroll-like handles made of ďŹ ligree wire. The shoulder of the vessel is treated with petal-like settings, apparently designed for the polychrome enameled inclusions. The composition of the earring is well proportioned and based on the visual contrast between the inert solid elements and the mobile suspended components.
Each bracelet is composed of a thick gold sheet with repoussé geometric ornaments consisting of two rows of zigzags and dots. The ends are terminated with spiral volutes made of gold wire. In the middle, an ovalshaped cameo in a gold setting is attached to the band with the aid of tiny wire loops. The cameo has a dark background and features a resting dog modeled in opaque white and light brown colors. The representation of the dog is charming, as it captures the characteristic moment of a dog at rest (head on forelegs); it is unusual, moreover, because the animal is shown from above. These pieces of jewelry are beautiful examples of the polychrome inlay style in Late Hellenistic jewelry. The colorful inlays and enamels were carefully chosen to separate the various elements in the design; their combination makes the composition attractive and distinguished.
CONDITION Very good condition, despite a slight deformation of the gold settings and small cracks in the stones. Some inlays lost; possible minor restorations (gold wire). PROVENANCE Formerly Swedish private collection, acquired in the 1970s; European private collection, 2002. BIBLIOGRAPHY DE JULIIS E.M., Gli ori di Taranto in età ellenistica, Milan, 1984, p. 166, no. 80b. DEPPERT-LIPPITZ B., Griechischer Goldschmuck, Mainz/Rhine, 1985, pp. 283286, ﬁgs. 215-216. HIGGINS R.A., Greek and Roman Jewellery, Berkeley, 1980, p. 179, pl. 55. HOFFMANN H. and DAVIDSON P.F., Greek Gold: Jewelry from the Age of Alexander, Boston, 1965. MORDVINTSEVA V.I. – TREISTER M.Y., Toreutik und Schmuck im nördlichen Schwarzmeergebiet, 2 Jh. v. Chr.-2 Jh. n. Chr., Simferopol-Bonn, 2007, Vol. 2, p. 46, no. A 129.1; p. 105, no. A 335.1; p. 106, no. A 340.1; p. 129, no. B 28.5; p. 130, no. B 29.1; p. 144, no. C 10.3; pp. 144-145, no. C 11.1; pp. 168-169, no. D 6.1; p. 169, nos. D 7.2, D 7.3, D 7.4, D 7.8; pp. 171-172, no. E 4.4; Vol. 3, pl. 31, 46, 55, 67-68, 75-77. TROFIMOVA A.A. (ed.), Greeks on the Black Sea: Ancient Art from the Hermitage, Los Angeles, 2007, pp. 128-129, no. 41. 40
HEAD OF A QUEEN OR A GODDESS Early Hellenistic Greek, early 3rd century B.C. Marble H: 34.2 cm A harmonious classical appearance and excellent workmanship deﬁne this head. It obviously belonged to a statue slightly larger than lifesize. It is not clear, however, whether the lower part of the veil, locks and neck, now fragmentary, constituted the shape prepared to socket into the cavity on the upper part of the ﬁgure carved separately and, probably, from a different kind of marble (similar, for instance, to the Demeter statue from Knidos, ca. 350 B.C., housed in the British Museum), or whether the head and the ﬁgure were carved from a single block of marble. The head faces slightly downward and to the side, which may correspond to either a seated or a standing ﬁgure. The iconographic exploration of the piece is both intriguing and instructive. The wavy hair parts in the middle and is dressed over the temples, a typical Praxitelean hairstyle, as indicated by the details of the “Knidian coiffure”: thin locks arranged in multiple shallow or deep grooves and forming the triangular shape of the forehead. The long spiral locks fall behind the ears and over the long neck. At the top of the forehead, the hair is encircled by a ﬁllet. Such long wavy hair with spiral locks is a characteristic of both female and male hairstyles in the representations of the deities, kings and queens in Late Classical Greek art and early Hellenism. The young Apollo and Dionysus are depicted in this effeminate style in vase painting and in sculpture. The ﬁllet was often used in a man’s hair. Dionysus is known wearing a narrow headband, called mitra, which crosses his forehead below the hairline. The ﬁllet could be the badge of victory worn by an athlete (cf. statue of Diadumenos, athlete tying a ribbon around his head, created by Polykleitos, ca. 440 B.C.) or by a warrior (cf. one of the two famous Riace Warriors). Or it could be a royal diadem; Alexander the Great wore a diadem consisting of a white ribbon (Lucian, Dialogues of the Dead, 13.4).
The young face is narrow, with a prominent chin, a high forehead, large eyes, a broad nasal bridge, a straight nose and full lips, features that are found in both female and male sculptural representations of the Classical and Late Classical periods. The head with long hair of the ﬁgure of Dionysus from the west pediment of the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, ca. 335-327 B.C. (Delphi Archaeological Museum), and the head of Dionysus said to have been found near the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, ca. 325 B.C. (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), both look feminine; their features are similar to the present head. Here, there is one speciﬁc trait of the anatomy, the so-called Venus rings on the long and plump neck, which must be recognized; along with the veil, this makes the deﬁnition of the head as female unquestionable. The veil in a Greek woman’s dress was appropriate for a matron; it became a symbol of her chastity and modesty. Appearance in public required the long cloak (himation) to be pulled up to cover the back of her head. The representation of the bowed, veiled head and the hand holding the edge of the cloak on a marble grave stele is perceived as a sign of grief and mourning. It might seem that the full lips slightly parted and the large eyes deeply set create a somewhat sorrowful expression here; however, this may not be part of the initial concept. The eyes are deeply set at their inner canthi, while the mid-section of each eye globe is wide and ﬂat, as if prepared for painted irises and pupils; in this case, the glance would be more directed, and thus the external expression would be less solemn, and more calm and pleasant. If the marble was indeed painted, which is true for many sculptures of this period, the headband was decorated as well; the plain middle surface would be decorated with ﬂowers, leaves and tendrils. It would be interesting to explore whether the shape of the band with convex upper and lower edges was intended to
reproduce either the fabric ﬁllet with stitching and embroidery or rather a metal circlet made in repoussé (edges) and openwork (decoration). The Hellenistic epigram To Aphrodite (Nossis, Greek Anthology, 6.275) refers to such beautiful and attractive things: “I think that Aphrodite will be happy to receive as an offering this band from Simaetha’s hair, since it is intricate and smells sweetly of the nectar that Aphrodite herself uses to anoint fair Adonis.” The interpretation of this work remains open. Given its artistic qualities and its larger than life size, this head certainly represented a towering ﬁgure and would no doubt have belonged to an important sculptural group (cult statuary, commemorative or funerary monument). She was either a goddess (Demeter, Hera, Aphrodite or one of the Horae, the personiﬁcations of the seasons, who each appear in a veil) or a queen or a princess of one of the Hellenistic kingdoms of the early 3rd century B.C.
The comparison with the portraits of queens and princesses of the Greco-Egyptian Ptolemaic dynasty (the family that ruled Egypt after the death of Alexander, until the arrival of the Romans) seems very relevant. The heads of the two most inﬂuential women of this dynasty (Arsinoe II and Berenice II) have much in common, typologically and stylistically, with our example.
CONDITION Surface slightly damaged: tip of the nose, part of the left eyelid, some of the hair above the ears; minor chips on the veil and face (right eyelid, cheeks, lower lip, chin). PROVENANCE Ex-Mr. O. private collection, South America, 1961; private collection, Miami. BIBLIOGRAPHY BIEBER M., The Sculpture of the Hellenistic Age, New York, 1961, p. 29, ﬁgs. 70-71 (Demeter from Knidos). COMSTOCK M.B. and VERMEULE C.C., Sculpture in Stone: The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 1976, p. 35, no. 46 (head of Dionysus from Athens); p. 69, no. 109 (head of a veiled woman). RIDGWAY B.S., Hellenistic Sculpture: I, The Styles of ca. 331-200 B.C., Madison, 1990, p.21, pl. 3 (head of Dionysus from Delphi); p. 332, pl. 172 (head of “Ariadne” from Athens). On diadems and headbands, see: SMITH R.R.R., Hellenistic Royal Portraits, Oxford, 1988, pp. 34-38. On portraits of the princesses of the Lagides, see: KYRIELEIS H., Bildnisse der Ptolemäer, Berlin, 1975, pp. 78-93. PRANGE M., Das Bildnis Arsinoes II Philadelphos (278-280 v. Chr.), in Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts: Athenische Mitteilungen, 105, 1990, pp. 197-211. SMITH R.R.R., Hellenistic Royal Portraits, Oxford, 1988, p. 56, nos. 52-54.
â€? Given its artistic qualities and its larger than life size, this head certainly represented a towering figure and would no doubt have belonged to an important sculptural group.â€?
GLASS INLAY Egyptian, ca. 1st century B.C. – 1st century A.D. Polychromatic mosaic glass Dim: 5.4 x 3.4 cm This plaque is currently composed of various elements in polychromatic glass paste and transparent glass (dark blue checked pattern) forming a rectangle, whose appearance recalls that of a mosaic with a geometric pattern. A border decorated with yellow and black volutes, suggesting the waves of the sea, and green and white lines frame the main motif composed of eight square elements, arranged so as to create a checkerboard formed by ample, alternating, red, yellow, green, cobalt blue and white diamonds. According to the latest studies, these plaques would have served as inlaid elements in the decoration of precious pieces of furniture (chairs, footrests, chests, altars, thrones, etc.), linen or papyrus cases, or even in wall adornments. Unfortunately, since materials such as wood are rarely preserved, no original pieces have survived up to modern times; the inlays are therefore known to us through small isolated objects, whose chronology is often difﬁcult to determine. In a few cases, they are still inserted into a plaster support; in other cases, they would have been directly inlaid in the wooden structure.
The very long and elaborate production technique for these glass inlays required special skills, which at that time were the unique specialty of Egyptian glaziers. According to the pattern that he wished to achieve, the craftsman had to produce each element separately by manufacturing glass rods and cutting them in vertical “slices” (which were therefore virtually identical). He then had to assemble the bars according to the subject. In this example, the glazier created two small bars of square section, one with polychromatic threads, the other with a yellow and black spiral, as the basic elements of the ornamentation. Whether ﬁgurative, with plant motifs (ﬂowers, palm leaves, etc.) or simply composed of geometric patterns, these inlays can be considered as real masterpieces of ancient glassware. The use of decorative elements made of glass can be traced back to the Pharaonic period (18th Dynasty), but the production of plaques like our example really starts in the Hellenistic period and continues until the 4th century A.D. Plaques decorated with geometric patterns like these are usually dated between the late Ptolemaic period and the 1st century A.D.
CONDITION Excellent condition, but reglued. Corners missing, minor chips. Rear cut irregularly. PROVENANCE Private collection, acquired from Gawain McKinley, London, 1991. BIBLIOGRAPHY On some parallels, see: GOLDSTEIN S.M., Pre-Roman and Early Roman Glass in the Corning Museum of Glass, New York, 1979, pp. 209 ff. HORNUNG E. (ed.), Le don du Nil : Art égyptien dans les collections suisses, Basel, 1978, nos. 354 ff. (especially nos. 383 and 385). STERN E.M. and SCHLICK-NOLTE B., Early Glass of the Ancient World, 1600 B.C.-50 A.D.: Ernesto Wolf Collection, Ostﬁldern, 1994, pp. 55 ff. (technique). On glass inlay plaques in general, see: ARVEILLER-DULONG V. and NENNA M.-D., Les verres antiques du Musée du Louvre: III, Parures, instruments et éléments d’incrustation, Paris, 2011, pp. 385 ff. (especially nos. 643-645). BIANCHI R.S., Those Ubiquitous Glass Inlays from Pharaonic Egypt, in Journal of Glass Studies, 25, 1983, pp. 29-35. NENNA M.-D., Les éléments d’incrustation: Une industrie égyptienne du verre, in Alessandria e il mondo ellenistico-romano (Atti del II Congresso internazionale italo-egiziano), Rome, 1995, pp. 377-384. 49
RED-FIGURE KYLIX (ATTRIBUTED TO THE AMBROSIOS PAINTER) Attic, late 6th century B.C. Ceramic D: 25 cm This kylix, supported by a trumpet-shaped foot, is outstanding both for its decorative quality and for its formal delicacy. The body is rounded, but very low, without a neck and with two horizontal handles, like most related examples dated to the late 6th and early 5th century B.C. It is decorated in the typical Attic red-ﬁgure technique, with the background of the vessel painted in black and the decoration (ﬁgures, subsidiary motifs) left in the color of the clay. Some details, partially faded now, are overpainted in red (inscription, ﬁllet, upper thyrsus). Apart from the inner foot, the kylix is entirely painted. Only the tondo is decorated with a ﬁgural scene. Within a circle, a young woman runs to the right of the viewer, while turning her head backward. As was customary at this time, her legs and head are shown in proﬁle, while her torso is seen as if from the front. In her left hand, she holds a thyrsus (the long wand covered with leaves and ﬂowers, faded here, usually associated with Dionysus and his followers, the satyrs and maenads). In her other hand, she holds a large bird by the wings (the shape of the tail and the small head recall a pigeon rather than a water bird). The woman is dressed in a long, short-sleeved chiton; the diaphanous garment reveals the shapes of her body beneath. The lightness of the fabric is also highlighted by the regular pattern of vertical folds that fan out above the ankles. Her short black hair is caught up by a red ﬁllet and ends in thick curls. Her adornment is limited to a beaded necklace.
The thyrsus, the clothing and the hairstyle would suggest that the woman is a maenad, but the presence of the bird, an element that is not part of the iconography of a maenad, does not enable us to conﬁrm this hypothesis. A.J. Paul attributed this kylix to the Ambrosios Painter (whose name comes from the inscription still legible on one of his vessels, now housed in Orvieto); indeed, the three lines that border the edges of the sleeves and neck of the chiton and the semicircles painted around the belt are a hallmark of his style. The Ambrosios Painter was described by J.D. Beazley as “never dull”, while J. Boardman cites him for “the sheer verve of his ﬁgures, not without some skill in posture and composition”. He was active in the late 6th century B.C., a very rich period in the history of Attic ceramic painting, and worked with renowned artists such as Oltos and Epiktetos.
” She holds a thyrsus, usually associated with Dionysus and his followers.“
CONDITION Complete, but reassembled; minor repairs and chips. Black paint in very good condition and still retaining its original luster; traces of purple paint. PROVENANCE Ex-Japanese private collection, acquired in the 1980s. BIBLIOGRAPHY BEAZLEY J.D., Attic Red-Figure Vase-Painters, Oxford, 1963, pp. 173-175. BOARDMAN J., Athenian Red-Figure Vases: The Archaic Period, London-New York, 1975, p. 62, ﬁgs. 119-121. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum: Oxford, Ashmolean Museum 1, Oxford, 1927, pl. 1.3. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum: The Hague, Musee Scheurleer 2, Paris, 1927, pl. 8.5. 52
OPENWORK ARCHITECTURAL PANEL Byzantine, 11th â€“ 12th century A.D. Marble Dim: 60 x 86 x 7.5 cm This rectangular panel is carved on the front, while the back has a rough flat surface. The smooth, well modeled sides allowed the panel to be inserted into its original architectural support. The decoration, in openwork in the middle and in hollow relief on the sides, features only geometric patterns. The delicate and beautifully structured workmanship recalls that of ivory carvers. Two perfectly symmetrical vertical bands ďŹ‚ank the main motif, which reďŹ‚ects the purest Christian tradition. Two small crosses support a third, larger cross that occupies the central part of the composition. The two levels are separated by two acanthus leaves, reminiscent of the Classical artistic tradition, which form palmettes in the upper section. On the arms of the upper cross are two ogiveshaped fruits, subdivided by horizontal and vertical incisions; these could be either pine cones (with their countless seeds ensuring the reproduction of the tree, these symbolize rebirth, eternity and life after death in the Christian tradition) or citrons (among other notions, these symbolize union and procreation in the Jewish and Biblical tradition).
The sides of the panel each have four stacked metopes adorned with a complex intertwining mesh. Each element of the composition is detailed and highlighted by decorative incisions. For example, the crosses each have edges in relief, while there are diagonal lines inside; their extremities (arms and vertical elements) terminate in volutes arranged in a triangle; engraved lines also emphasize the veins of the leaves and palmettes. Marble panels like this, generally rectangular in shape, sometimes with an arched top, were common in churches of early Christian and especially Byzantine architecture. Isolated, they would serve as simple windows, as a decorative wall element, or even as a funeral monument inside the place of worship. Linked with each other by small grooved pilasters, such plaques also formed the lattice screens or parapets used to separate the faithful from the clergy or to delimitate the most important areas of a religious monument. The decoration, often elaborate and well structured, included mainly Christian patterns and symbols, such as the cross, the grapevine, the peacock, the lamb, the pine cone and the fish.
” The decoration, often elaborate and well structured, included mainly Christian patterns and symbols, such as the cross, the grapevine, the peacock, the lamb, the pine cone and the fish.“
CONDITION Complete and in excellent condition, but reassembled from large fragments. Chips and superﬁcial wear. PROVENANCE Private Eastern Europe collection, 1960s. BIBLIOGRAPHY Das Museum für Spätantike und Byzantinische Kunst Berlin, Mainz/Rhine, 1992, nos. 40-42 and 117-118. GRABAR A., Sculptures byzantines du Moyen Age: II, XIe-XIVe siècle, Paris, 1976, pl. 52b (Saint Mark’s Basilica, Venice); pl. 136 ff. (Church of Saint Sophia, Ohrid, modern-day Macedonia). WAMSER L., Die Welt von Byzanz-Europas östliches Erbe: Glanz, Krisen und Fortleben einer tausendjährigen Kultur, Munich, 2004, nos. 94 ff. 56
STANDING MALE STATUETTE Near Eastern (Syro-Palestinian), early 2nd millennium B.C. Bronze H: 21.6 cm This bronze statuette is solid-cast and represents a standing male ﬁgure, with slim, elongated proportions and somewhat naive, unrealistic shapes. The man is naked, except for a thick belt fastened at the waist. The large vertical tenon still preserved under the heels was used to attach the ﬁgure to its original pedestal. The statuette shows some distinctive and rare features that make it stand out in the panorama of Syro-Palestinian ﬁgures of the Bronze Age, both in the body (which is a simple, long vertical stem with very few details) and in the huge, shield-like head. Technically, typologically and stylistically, it is interesting to note the strong similarities with the statuette no.15 of this catalog. The man stands upright, in a slightly rigid and strictly frontal position, accentuated by the fact that the back was left rough and is not polished. His headgear, the nature of which is currently unknown, was supported by a cylindrical tenon. The face is disproportionately large compared to the rest of the statuette, with the sense organs emphasized. The eyes are long slits, surprisingly closed (Near Eastern ﬁgures usually have their eyes wide open, often inlaid); the nose is a large triangle in the center of the face, while the cheeks are simply marked by two oblique lines; the mouth is incised horizontally; the two small, semicircular ears are placed just under the temples. The torso is a long, narrow stem, from which the arms protrude horizontally, slightly bent
towards the viewer. The two knobs at the center of the chest probably indicate the pectoral muscles. The hands are barely larger than stumps with clenched ﬁsts and long ﬁngers incised horizontally. In each hand, drilled vertically, the man held an object, now lost, such as a long thin staff (scepter?) or a weapon (spear, sword, shield?). The legs are too short and not separated from each other; they are barely more modeled than the upper body, whether at the buttocks, knees or calves. The male genitals are clearly indicated. A large number of similar bronze statuettes were dedicated in the shrines of the Levantine world and of north-eastern Anatolia, mostly during the 2nd millennium B.C. They are very diverse in quality (depending on the commissioner’s economic situation), in size and in technique. Generally made of solid bronze, they could be covered with a foil of hammered precious metal (gold or silver); they could be inlaid or composite, with elements made of various other materials (ivory, precious metal, stone, etc.). Although our statuette certainly belongs to the Syro-Palestinian productions of the early 2nd millennium B.C., it is stylistically rather isolated. Such images most often depicted gods waging war (female ﬁgures are very rare), armed with a shield, a sword, a dagger or an axe. Levantine bronze statuettes cannot be interpreted with complete conﬁdence, but archeologists think that they represented deities or deiﬁed kings, who became cult items in local sanctuaries; other statuettes would have been used as ex-votos.
CONDITION Complete and in good condition, but eyes, attributes (held in the hands) and headgear lost. Surface partially cracked; granulations and concretions. Brownish-gray color with green patina. PROVENANCE Ex-US private collection, New York, acquired on May 15, 1991. BIBLIOGRAPHY MATTHIAE P., La storia dell’arte dell’Oriente Antico: Gli stati territoriali, 2100-1600 a.C., Milan, 2000, pp. 202 ff. NEGBI O., Canaanite Gods in Metal, Tel Aviv, 1976, pl. 2-18. SEEDEN H., The Standing Armed Figurines in the Levant (PBF I,1), Munich, 1980, pl. 6-12.
STANDING MALE STATUETTE Near Eastern (Syro-Palestinian), early 2nd millennium B.C. Bronze H: 22.2 cm This statuette presents strong technical, stylistic and typological analogies with the ﬁgure no.14 of the present catalog. Indeed, this statuette also shows some distinctive and rare features that make it stand out in the panorama of Syro-Palestinian ﬁgurines of the Bronze Age, both in the body (which is a simple, long vertical stem with very few details) and in the huge shield-like head. This solid-cast bronze statuette represents a standing male ﬁgure, with slim, elongated proportions and somewhat naive, unrealistic shapes. It was attached to its original base via the tenon cast in a single piece with the feet. The man stands upright, in a slightly rigid and strictly frontal position. He wears only a loincloth (whose type with a diagonal incision recalls Egyptian fashion) and over-the-ankle boots. The shoulders are barely marked, while the bent arms are directed towards the viewer. The two knobs soldered at the center of the chest probably indicate the pectoral muscles. The hands look like stumps with clenched ﬁsts and long ﬁngers incised horizontally. In each hand (the left one is still pierced vertically), the man held an object, such as a long thin staff (scepter?) or a weapon (spear, sword, shield?). The legs are too short and not separated from each other; except for a slight bulge at each knee, they are not more detailed than the upper body. Compared to the rest of the statuette, the face is disproportionately large; although the shapes are a little hasty, the sense organs are highly
emphasized. The eyes are long slits, surprisingly closed (Near Eastern ﬁgures usually have their eyes wide open, often inlaid); the nose is a large triangle in the center of the face, while the cheeks are simply marked by two oblique lines; the mouth is incised horizontally; the two small semicircular ears are placed just under the temples. The headgear, the exact nature of which is currently unknown, was very low and ﬂat; only its horizontal edge can be seen just above the eyes, as well as two small horns at the temples. A large number of related bronze statuettes were dedicated in the shrines of the Levantine world and of north-eastern Anatolia, mostly during the 2nd millennium B.C. They are very diverse in quality (depending on the commissioner’s economic situation), in size and in technique. Generally made of solid bronze, they could be covered with a foil of hammered precious metal (gold or silver); they could be inlaid or composite, with elements made of various materials (ivory, precious metal, stone, etc.). Chronologically, our statuette certainly belongs to the earlier productions and can thus be dated to the early 2nd millennium B.C. Such images most often depicted gods waging war (female ﬁgures are very rare), armed with a shield, a sword, a dagger or an axe. Levantine bronze statuettes cannot be interpreted with complete conﬁdence, but archeologists think that they represented deities or deiﬁed kings, who became cult items in local sanctuaries; other statuettes would have been used as ex-votos.
CONDITION Complete and in excellent condition, but attributes (held in the hands) lost. Blackish-brown surface unpolished and partially covered with traces of green patina. PROVENANCE Ex-US private collection, New York, acquired on May 15, 1991. BIBLIOGRAPHY MATTHIAE P., La storia dell’arte dell’Oriente Antico: Gli stati territoriali, 2100-1600 a.C., Milan, 2000, pp. 202 ff. NEGBI O., Canaanite Gods in Metal, Tel Aviv, 1976, pl. 2-18. SEEDEN H., The Standing Armed Figurines in the Levant (PBF I,1), Munich, 1980, pl. 6-12.
CREDITS & CONTACTS
Selection of objects Ali Aboutaam and Hicham Aboutaam Project manager Hélène Yubero, Geneva Research Phoenix Ancient Art, Geneva Antiquities Research Center, New York Graphic design mostra-design.com, Geneva Photography Stefan Hagen, New York Atsuyuki Shimada, Osaka
Geneva Ali Aboutaam Michael C. Hedqvist Phoenix Ancient Art S.A. 6, rue Verdaine – P.O. Box 3516 1211 Geneva 3, Switzerland T +41 22 318 80 10 F +41 22 310 03 88 E email@example.com New York Hicham Aboutaam Alexander Gherardi
Print run 300 French – 300 English
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©2015 PHOENIX ANCIENT ART SA
Published on Oct 10, 2015
Phoenix Ancient Art is pleased to celebrate the 10th-anniversary of its publishing history. With this current catalogue, the gallery acknowl...