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Unique Italic Plaque with Seated God Figure

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Ancient World: European Medieval: Pre 1800: Item # 968655

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Apolonia Ancient Art
290 Fillmore St. #D
Denver, CO. 80206
303-321-7351 gallery

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Unique Italic Plaque with Seated God Figure
$1,675.00

This unique piece is a stamped plaque that is made from lead. This piece is Italic, and dates circa mid 16th to the late 17th century A.D. This interesting piece is approximately 2.7 inches wide, by 2.1 inches high, and by .15 inches thick. The shape of this piece is oval, and as such, was likely an inlay for a furniture piece or a box, rather than part of a large pendant for a necklace and/or pectoral. The backside of this piece is flat, and this piece was made in the same fashion as a Roman bronze sestertius or Renaissance medallion coin would have been made, with a carved die that was hand struck into the prepared heated lead flan. This method of manufacture allowed one to make several examples of this piece, however, the piece offered here may be the only recorded example, as our research has not found any other pieces. In fact, all of these lead plaques are very rare, as lead is very soft and is easy to damage, melts very easily, and can simply be easily used later on to make other objects. The piece offered here has a light brown patina with a thin oxidized crust over the outer surface, moreover, the condition of this piece is superb with no major tears, dents, or scraps as lead is a very soft material. There are also micro black dendrites which indicate that this piece has been buried for quite some time. There is a small hole seen at the top which may have held an attachment pin. This piece shows a seated, virile figure that is seen half draped, and is seen holding a round object in his extended right hand which may be an apple. This seated figure appears to be examining and looking at the round object that he is seen holding up in front of himself, and there is a strong possibility that the figure is the Trojan prince Paris, who is contemplating as to whom he should award the prize. According to Greek myth, it was Paris who was chosen by the gods to decide which of the three goddesses - Juno, Minerva, or Venus - was the fairest, and the prize was an apple. Venus won the prize who in turn awarded Paris the mortal Helen, and this triggered the Trojan War. The Trojan prince Aeneas, subsequently fled the ruins of Troy to found the city of Rome, as praised by the Roman poet Virgil, who prophesied a "new golden age" as founded by Augustus, the first or Roman emperors. Virgil, Horace, and Propertius, who are considered the greatest writers in Roman literature, all embraced Augustus' propaganda campaign in creating the "myth of Augustus", which fostered the idea that Augustus was the one chosen by the gods to preside over the new empire. This literary propaganda campaign legitimized Augustus' hold on power after the bloody civil wars, and in the same context, there are several Roman works of art that served the same purpose. The piece offered here points back to the founding of Rome, and another rare Roman work of art that is considered by many academics to fit into this category is the Portland Vase, and the seated figure seen on the Portland Vase known as "Figure E" is thought to be Paris as well. The artistic style of "Figure E" is also very analogous to the seated figure seen on the piece offered here, as both are seated, both are nude except for drapery that falls over the thighs, both have a virile muscular build, and both have the same type of hair style. (See "Glass of the Caesars" by Donald Harden, The British Museum Pub., London, 1987, p. 59.) The piece offered here was also examined by Dr. Wolfgang Fischer-Bossert of the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin, who dated this piece, and in addition, he thought there was a strong possibility that the maker of this piece saw the Portland Vase. The seated figure seen on the piece offered here is seen centered in front of a fountain with a lion's head spout. There are also architectural elements seen at the back of the seated figure, including a building with a round dome that may be a representation of the Pantheon. The overall scene may be one set in the Campus Martius (Field of Mars), and is the location where Augustus was cremated and where his Mausoleum was built. The piece offered here is an important work of Italic Renaissance art, according to Dr. Fischer-Bossert, but this piece is obviously in need of further academic study. A custom stand is included. Ex: Private English collection. (Additional documentation is available to the purchaser.) I certify that this piece is authentic as to date, culture, and condition:


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