Sunday, November 6, 2016

11 carvings 0f Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion, Sculpture, #7

French Fruitwood and Ivory Figure of Venus de Milo 

After the antique, Late 19th Century 

Set within a fitted box. Age cracks to ivory. 

Height: 12-1/2 in (31.8 cm)
Private Collection

Aphrodite of Milos, better known as the Venus de Milo, is an ancient Greek statue and one of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture. Created sometime between 130 and 100 BCE, it is believed to depict Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty (Venus to the Romans). Part of an arm and the original plinth were lost following its discovery. From an inscription that was on its plinth. More

 Ivory sculpture, on a cylindrical plinth
A Bacchant
24,5 cm
Europe, 19th century 
Private Collection

A Bacchant in Greek & Roman Mythology A priest or votary of Bacchus.

Albert H. Hussman (East Prussian, 1874-1959).
Abduction of Europa

Mounted on a black veined marble.

Height 8 inches.
Private Collection

In Greek mythology Europa was the mother of King Minos of Crete, a woman with Phoenician origin of high lineage, and for whom the continent Europe was named. The story of her abduction by Zeus in the form of a white bull was a Cretan story; as classicist Károly Kerényi points out, "most of the love-stories concerning Zeus originated from more ancient tales describing his marriages with goddesses. This can especially be said of the story of Europa".

The mythographers tell that Zeus was enamored of Europa and decided to seduce or ravish her. He transformed himself into a tame white bull and mixed in with her father's herds. While Europa and her helpers were gathering flowers, she saw the bull, caressed his flanks, and eventually got onto his back. Zeus took that opportunity and ran to the sea and swam, with her on his back, to the island of Crete. He then revealed his true identity, and Europa became the first queen of Crete. More

A Roman marble torso of a centaur or Triton 
Circa 2nd Century A.D.
61cm high
Private Collection

The rugged face framed by shoulder length thick wavy hair falling in two loose curls on the forehead, the almond shaped eyes set in deep sockets, with a full curling beard, the well-defined muscular torso twisted slightly to his right.

This sculpture is probably part of a group of either a centaur with Eros riding on his back, or a triton in a marine scene. Both subjects demonstrate wild hair and nude torsos and their horse-formed lower halves would explain the truncated lower torso on this example. More

Triton is a mythological Greek god, the messenger of the sea. He is the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite, god and goddess of the sea respectively, and is herald for his father. He is usually represented as a merman, having the upper body of a human and the tail of a fish.

Like his father, Poseidon, he carried a trident. However, Triton's special attribute was a twisted conch shell, on which he blew like a trumpet to calm or raise the waves. Its sound was such a cacophony, that when loudly blown, it put the giants to flight, who imagined it to be the roar of a dark wild beast.

Triton was the father of Pallas and foster parent to the goddess Athena. Triton can sometimes be multiplied into a host of Tritones, daimones of the sea. More

A centaur  is a mythological creature with the upper body of a human and the lower body of a horse.
The centaurs were usually said to have been born of Ixion and Nephele (the cloud made in the image of Hera). Another version, however, makes them children of a certain Centaurus, who mated with the Magnesian mares. This Centaurus was either himself the son of Ixion and Nephele (inserting an additional generation) or of Apolloand Stilbe, daughter of the river god Peneus. In the later version of the story his twin brother was Lapithes, ancestor of the Lapiths, thus making the two warring peoples cousins. More

A Greek terracotta relief of Odysseus 
Melos, circa 5th Century B.C.
 12.2cm high
Private Collection

Wearing a chlamys across his shoulder, over a short chiton revealing his bare thighs with well-defined musculature, the figure leaning forward and holding a purse, the later head shown wearing a traveller's hat or petasos 

Melian reliefs were produced on the island of Melos for a short period in the middle of the 5th Century B.C.

Odysseus, also known by the Latin name Ulysses, was a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. Odysseus also plays a key role in Homer's Iliad and other works in that same epic cycle.

Husband of Penelope, father of Telemachus, and son of Laërtes and Anticlea, Odysseus is renowned for his brilliance, guile, and versatility, and is hence known by the epithet Odysseus the Cunning. He is most famous for the Odyssey, ten eventful years he took to return home after the decade-long Trojan War. More

A Greek terracotta figure of Dionysus 
Circa 4th-3rd Century B.C.
 17.5cm high
Private Collection

His himation draped loosely around him and secured by a brooch at his right shoulder, wearing a foliate wreath, leaning against a herm surmounted by a head, standing with his weight on his left leg, his right leg relaxed,

Dionysus  is the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness, fertility, theatre and religious ecstasy in Greek mythology. Wine played an important role in Greek culture with the cult of Dionysus the main religious focus for unrestrained consumption. He may have been worshipped as early as c. 1500–1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks; other traces of the Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete. His origins are uncertain, and his cults took many forms; some are described by ancient sources as Thracian, others as Greek. In some cults, he arrives from the east, as an Asiatic foreigner; in others, from Ethiopia in the South. He is a god of epiphany, "the god that comes", and his "foreignness" as an arriving outsider-god may be inherent and essential to his cults. He is a major, popular figure of Greek mythology and religion, becoming increasingly important over time, and is included in some lists of the twelve Olympians. Dionysus was the last god to be accepted into Mt. Olympus. He was the youngest and the only one to have a mortal mother. His festivals were the driving force behind the development of Greek theatre. He is sometimes categorised as a dying-and-rising god. More

A Roman bone figure of Fortuna 
Circa 1st-2nd Century A.D.
11cm high
Private Collection

Wearing the chiton, her himation draped loosely around her, her hair dressed beneath a stephane, locks falling to her shoulders, holding a cornucopia aloft in her right hand.

Fortuna (equivalent to the Greek goddess Tyche) was the goddess of fortune and personification of luck in Roman religion. She might bring good or bad luck: she could be represented as veiled and blind, as in modern depictions of Lady Justice, and came to represent life's capriciousness. She was also a goddess of fate: as Atrox Fortuna, she claimed the young lives of the princeps Augustus' grandsons Gaius and Lucius, prospective heirs to the Empire.

Her father was said to be Jupiter and like him, she could also be bountiful (Copia). As Annonaria she protected grain supplies. June 11 was sacred to her: on June 24 she was given cult at the festival of Fors Fortuna. More

Depiction of Tomis Fortuna
Constanta Museum, Romania

 A large Etruscan polychrome terracotta head of Acheloos 
Circa late 6th - early 5th Century B.C.
23cm high
Private Collection

Probably an architectural decoration, depicted with almond-shaped eyes, his long moustache above full lips, flowing over the grooved beard, a short horn projecting from the right side of its head above the ear, the face framed with a row of curls.

The size indicates that this may have been a temple decoration. 

Achelous was originally the god of all water, and the rivers of the world were viewed by many as his sinews. Later, in Hellenistic times, he was specifically a river god who became the patron deity of the Achelous River, which is the largest river of Greece, and thus the chief of all river deities, every river having its own river spirit (though the initiated still revered him as the god of all water. His name is pre-Greek, its meaning not entirely certain. Recent arguments suggest it is Semitic.

Achelous was also an important deity in Etruscan mythology, intimately related to water as in the Greek tradition but also carrying significant chthonic associations. Man-faced bull iconography was first adapted to represent Achelous by the Etruscans in the 8th century BC, and the Greeks later copied this tradition. More

Small statue of Hygieia. Mid-2nd century C.E.
Archaeological Museum of Rhodes

In Greek as well as Roman mythology, Hygieia was the daughter of the god of medicine, Asclepius, and Epione. She was the goddess/personification of health, cleanliness and hygiene.

Hygieia as well as her four sisters each performed a facet of Apollo's art: Hygieia ("Hygiene" the goddess/personification of health, cleanliness, and sanitation); Panacea (the goddess of Universal remedy); Iaso (the goddess of recuperation from illness); Aceso (the goddess of the healing process); and Aglïa (the goddess of beauty, splendor, glory, magnificence, and adornment).

Hygieia also played an important part in her father's cult. While her father was more directly associated with healing, she was associated with the prevention of sickness and the continuation of good health. Her name is the source of the word "hygiene". She was imported by the Romans as the goddess Valetudo, the goddess of personal health, but in time she started to be increasingly identified with the ancient Italian goddess of social welfare, Salus.

Hermes round hat, Travellers mantle, Caduceus and purse. 
Marble, Roman
Vatican Museums

Hermes is an Olympian god in Greek religion and mythology, the son of Zeus and the Pleiad Maia, and the second youngest of the Olympian gods (Dionysus being the youngest).

Hermes is considered a god of transitions and boundaries. He is described as quick and cunning, moving freely between the worlds of the mortal and divine. He is also portrayed as an emissary and messenger of the gods; an intercessor between mortals and the divine, and conductor of souls into the afterlife. He has been viewed as the protector and patron of herdsmen, thieves, oratory and wit, literature and poetry, athletics and sports, invention and trade, roads, boundaries and travelers.

In some myths, he is a trickster and outwits other gods for his own satisfaction or for the sake of humankind. His main symbol is the Greek kerykeion or Latin caduceus, which appears in a form of two snakes wrapped around a winged staff.

In the Roman adaptation of the Greek pantheon, Hermes is identified with the Roman god Mercury, who, though inherited from the Etruscans, developed many similar characteristics such as being the patron of commerce. More

Acknowledgment: Thomaston Place Auction Galleries, Weschler, Bonhams

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