The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Friday, October 19, 2018

Beauty and the beast: Roman goddesses and court dwarves at Bonhams sale
Another striking sculpture in the sale is an Italian 19th Century marble group showing the dwarf Morgante riding a turtle, estimated at £40,000 – 60,000. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- Exceptional marble sculptures representing figures from lost societies across the ages will be among the highlights of Bonhams Fine European Furniture, Sculpture & Works of Art sale on 13th December at New Bond Street, London.

A magnificent marble bust of the goddess of Spring Proserpine, by the renowned American sculptor Hiram Powers, is estimated at £30,000 – 50,000. Exquisitely sculpted in white marble, the figure shows the superior skill of Hiram Powers, one of the greatest American sculptors of the 19th Century. He held strong views about the aim of art being spiritual, which led him to create ‘ideal’ sculpture representing an archetypal beauty.

Proserpine was an important figure in Roman mythology and her story played an integral role in shaping views on fertility and the seasonal changes. According to myth she was abducted by Pluto, the god of the underworld, and held for four months, her release ending Winter and inducing the start of Spring. Power’s bust of Proserpine was his most popular sculpture leading him to produce several versions over the years, some life-sized.

Another striking sculpture in the sale is an Italian 19th Century marble group showing the dwarf Morgante riding a turtle, estimated at £40,000 – 60,000. The sculpture is based on a design for a fountain, commissioned by Cosimo I de’ Medici, the first of the Grand-Dukes of Tuscany in the 16th Century. The eye-catching piece represents another key figure in society, the court jester or court dwarf.

It was common for courtiers to “own” a court dwarf who would often also act as a jester to offer entertainment to the rulers. They would often be traded as gifts to kings and queens and would raise the social standing of the owner. As small people were often regarded as ‘lucky charms’, they were highly desirable in the courts. The sculpture of ‘Morgante’ shows Braccio di Bartolo, the court dwarf in the late 16th Century. Ironically named after the giant Morgante Maggiore from a renowned poem at the time, he is recorded as joining the Medici court around 1540. In another ironic gesture, he is depicted in a similar position to that of Marcus Aurelius equestrian statue in Rome.

An impressive pair of Venetian early 20th Century Belgian black and specimen marble busts of an African king and queen, estimated at £40,000 – 60,000 are also among important sculptural works in the sale. These imposing figures are highly decorated with leopard- and tiger-skin headpieces, denoting the high social standing of these figures.

In addition to fascinating sculpture, the sale includes a stunning selection of exquisitely made furniture. Among the most noteworthy items from the property of Viscount Strathallan are a French 18th Century Louis XV occasional table (£7,000 – 10,000) and a French 18th Century Louis XVI secrétaire à abattant (£8,000 – 12,000). The occasional table is ormolu-mounted amaranth, kingwood and tulipwood parquetry and marquetry, while the secrétaire is made from amaranth, fruitwood and parquetry.

François Le Brun, Director of European Furniture commented, “Our December sale is a feast for the senses. We have some extraordinary works of sculpture as well as exquisite pieces of furniture from across Europe. The figures offered for sale give a fascinating insight into the way sculpture was used to immortalise key members of society, whether a king or queen, goddess or the court dwarf. It was an incredibly effective way to elevate these important figures and to commemorate their roles in shaping the way we live today.”

Bonhams | Beauty and the Beast | Proserpine | London |

Today's News

December 11, 2012

"Cindy Sherman: The Early Works 1975-1977" opens at Centre de la photographie Genève

An aristocratic site in Bassing between independent Gaul and the Roman conquest

Art Basel Miami Beach presented premier quality works and strong programming

Winterthur announces that missing silver snuff box by Barent Ten Eyck has been located

Art auctions still soaring at Ketterer Kunst: High increases and many new customers

Exhibition in Milan explores the synthesis between colour, pictorial act, matter and form

Beauty and the beast: Roman goddesses and court dwarves at Bonhams sale

Russia's Hermitage denounces probe over modern art exhibit by Britain's Jake and Dinos Chapman

A tribute to the late Swiss artist Josephsohn on view at Hauser & Wirth in London

Early impressions by James R. Jackson on view at the Manly Art Gallery & Museum

French courts to rule in Chinese artist family feud between his third wife and his son from a previous marriage

Last King of France's ice buckets re-discovered and red-hot at Bonhams sale

Centre Pompidou Foundation appoints Sylvia Chivaratanond as the first Adjunct Curator of American Art

National Portrait Gallery presents 89 sitters in one innovative group video portrait

Sound installation conceived by Hans Tutschku for the rooftop of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts

Painting of epic battle between British and American warships in 1813 for sale at Bonhams

Christie's New York wraps 2012 with over $163 million in jewelry auction sales

House of Illustration raises 68,750 in "What are they like?" Celebrity Auction at Sotheby's London

Pulse Miami 2012 closes with record attendance, high museum sales and sold-out booths

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- The Mummy poised to reclaim its title as the world's most expensive film poster

2.- Money museum showcases 1943 Cent valued at $1 million

3.- Is Robin Cunningham the Mysterious and Unknown Grafitti Artist Banksy?

4.- Freeman's autumn jewelry auction set to dazzle

5.- Phoenix Art Museum presents never-before-seen artifacts from Teotihuacan

6.- Sotheby's breaks auction record for any bottle of wine twice in one sale

7.- Buyer of shredded Banksy work goes through with deal

8.- The Frick Pittsburgh opens a major exhibition of works by Isabelle de Borchgrave

9.- Prime Minister Mark Rutte gives a history lesson in the Rijksmuseum

10.- Paris finds spot for controversial Jeff Koons tribute

Related Stories

Bonhams Period Art & Design Sale in San Francisco achieves strong results across categories

Beatles rock Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia Sale; Exceptional prices achieved for Beatles items

Henrietta Leon Girshman's Carnet de Salon leads Bonhams Russian Literature Auction

Bonhams walks on Moon as illuminating space auction reaches the stars

Dictionaries define success at Bonhams

Painting of epic battle between British and American warships in 1813 for sale at Bonhams

Last King of France's ice buckets re-discovered and red-hot at Bonhams sale

Discovery in New England brings to light an obscure California-made motorcycle once thought 'extinct'

Dazzling prices in £6m Bonhams Fine Jewellery Sale with over £1m for Van Cleef & Arpels brooch

Navajo child's blanket leads Bonhams $1.28 million Native American Art Sale in San Francisco

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful