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Flying Eros Sculpture

Flying Eros Sculpture

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3D Image

Flying Eros, 2nd century BCE, Myrina production. Musée d'Art et d'Histoire (Musée du Cinquantenaire, Brussels, Belgium). Made with CapturingReality.

This example originally had wings attached to the back. It was made to be suspended: the front foot pointed out and could not have supported the figure.

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Statuette of nude Eros flying

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Flying Eros Sculpture - History

Psyche and Cupid: Mythology’s Greatest Love Story

Psyche and Amor, also known as Psyche Receiving Cupid’s First Kiss (1798), by François Gérard: the butterfly hovering over Psyche symbolizes her innocence, prior to sexual awakening.

Amore e Psiche (1707–09) by Giuseppe Crespi: Lychnomancy, a form of divination or spirit conjuring, is thought to be represented here in Psyche’s use of the lamp to see the god.

Voluptas is pictured with her parents, Cupid and Psyche, at far right in Banquet of Amor and Psyche by Giulio Romano.

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One comment

My first comment! Have been a worshipper of The Ancients since childhood. May I suggest the tone poem by the Belgian/French composer Cesar Franck entitled “Psyche”, composed in 1886 if I remember correctly. It is lush and generates many images… (I listen to Classical Music with eyes closed in order to let it speak to me in images as well as sound, which summons the images…). Anyway, Franck’s version has Psyche and Eros. Of particular beauty is the second portion entitled “Les Chardins d’Eros.” It musically describes Psyche being carried aloft to the “gardens of Eros” by Aeolids, who are attendants to Aeolos, God of Winds. Priceless! Oh, Ye Ancients! May the well of your inspiration live forever! (As I am sure it will!)

What The Ancients Inspired with their various Arts are the most priceless and uplifting Gnosis which will ever belong to Mankind thus do I decree! (Ok, so I’m a nobody, but will wager I will be right!)

Eros lamp holder

General Description

Eros, the Greek god of love, is shown as a beautiful youth with both male and female characteristics. The figure was originally part of a lamp holder and would have had an oil lamp on the tendril he holds in an outstretched hand. The sculpture shares in the expressive, dynamic qualities of later Greek Hellenistic art it appears to be flying on the beautifully detailed wings. The lamp from which the figure came was probably made in the eastern Mediterranean for a wealthy house or villa in Italy. The bronze has been associated with a trove of Greek luxury goods recovered from an ancient shipwreck near the town of Mahdia on the coast of Tunisia.

Gothic Architecture (c.1120-1500)

Interior of Leon Cathedral Spain.
A treasure trove of medieval art of the
late 13th century. Built during the
period 1250-1550, it exemplifies
Spanish Gothic architecture of the
1250s. Note the ribbed vaulting and
pointed arches.

Introduction: The Gothic Cathedral

There is no better evidence of the quality of Christian art during the Middle Ages, than the Gothic cathedral. The Gothic architectural style first appeared at Saint-Denis, near Paris, in 1140, and within a century had revolutionized cathedral design throughout Western Europe. The old style of Romanesque architecture, with its rounded ceilings, huge thick walls, small windows and dim interiors had been replaced by soaring Gothic arches, thin walls, and huge stained glass windows, which flooded the interiors with light. By modifying the system of ceiling vaulting and employing flying buttresses to change how weight was transferred from the top down, Gothic architects managed to radically transform the interior and make it a far greater visual experience. Everything was taller and more fragile-looking, and colonnettes often reached from the floor to the roof, pulling the eye up with dramatic force. Outside, a mass of stone sculpture added decoration as well as Biblical narrative, with statues of Saints on the walls, and complex reliefs around the portals and doors. Add mosaics, carved altarpieces, fonts and pulpits, vivid stained glass art, exquisite Gothic illuminated manuscripts and precious ecclesiastical metalwork, and you can understand why Gothic cathedrals amounted to some of the greatest works of art ever made. Outstanding examples of these structures include: Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris (1163-1345), Chartres Cathedral (1194-1250) and Cologne Cathedral (1248-1880).

Cologne Cathedral (1248-1880)
A wonderful example of
German Gothic art. Notice the
array of flying buttresses topped
with spires.

Characteristics of Gothic Architecture

Gothic art evolved out of Romanesque art and lasted from the mid-12th century up to the late 16th century in some areas of Germany. Architecture was the main art form of the Gothic, and the main structural characteristics of Gothic architectural design stemmed from the efforts of medieval masons to solve the problems associated with supporting heavy masonry ceiling vaults (arched roofs) over wide spans. The problem arose because the stonework of the traditional arched roof exerted a tremendous downward and outward pressure against the walls upon which it rested, which often caused a collapse. Up to and including the preceding period of Romanesque architecture (c.800-1150), building designers believed that vertical supporting walls had to be made extremely thick and heavy in order to counteract and absorb the vault's downward and outward pressure. But Gothic designers solved this problem around 1120 with several brilliant innovations.

Ribbed Vaulting: Flying Buttresses: Pointed Arch

First and most important, they developed a ribbed vault, made up of intersecting barrel vaults, whose stone ribs supported a vaulted ceiling of thin stone panels. Not only did this new arrangement significantly reduce the weight (and thus the outward thrust) of the ceiling vault, but also the vault's weight was now transmitted along a distinct stone rib, rather than along a continuous wall edge, and could be channelled from the rib to other supports, such as vertical piers or flying buttresses, which eliminated the need for solid, thick walls. Furthermore, Gothic architects replaced the round arches of the barrel vault with pointed arches which distributed the vault's weight in a more vertical direction.

To put it simply, until Gothic builders revolutionized building design, the weight of the roof (vault) fell entirely on the supporting walls. As a result, the heavier the roof or the higher the roof, the more downward and outward pressure on the walls and the thicker they had to be to stay upright. A Romanesque cathedral, for instance, had massively thick continuous walls which took up huge amounts of space and created small, dim interiors. In contrast, Gothic architects channelled the weight of the roof along the ribs of the ceiling, across the walls to a flying buttress (a semi-arch), and then down vertical supports (piers) to the ground. In effect, the roof no longer depended on the walls for support. As a result the walls of a Gothic cathedral could be built a lot higher (which made the building even more awesome), they could be a lot thinner (which created more interior space) they could contain more windows (which led to brighter interiors and, where stained glass art was used, more Biblical art for the congregation).

All this led to the emergence of a completely new type of cathedral interior, whose tall, thin walls gave the impression of soaring verticality, enhanced by multi-coloured light flooding through huge expanses of stained glass. Its exterior was more complex than before, with lines of vertical piers connected to the upper walls by flying buttresses, and large rose windows. As the style evolved, decorative art tended to supercede structural matters. Thus decorative stonework known as tracery was added, along with a rich assortment of other decorative features, including lofty porticos, pinnacles and spires.

Master Masons
Medieval masons were highly skilled craftsmen and their trade was most frequently used in the building of castles, churches and cathedrals. A Master Mason was someone who also had charge over carpenters, glaziers and other works (and work teams). Indeed, all skilled and unskilled workers on a building site were under the supervision of the Master Mason. He himself was based in what was known as the Mason's Lodge. All major building sites would have a Mason's Lodge, from which all the work on the site was organised.

History and Development of Gothic Architecture

Three phases of Gothic architectural design can be distinguished: Early, High, and Late Gothic.

Early Gothic (1120-1200)

The fusion of all the above mentioned structural elements into a coherent style of architecture occurred first in the Ile-de-France (the region around Paris), whose prosperous inhabitants had sufficient resources to build the great cathedrals that now epitomize Gothic architecture. The earliest surviving Gothic structure is the Abbey of Saint-Denis in Paris, begun in about 1140. Cathedrals with similar vaulting and windows soon appeared, beginning with Notre-Dame de Paris (c.1163-1345) and Laon Cathedral (c.1112-1215). A series of four distinct horizontal levels soon evolved: ground-level, then tribune gallery level, then triforium gallery level, above which was an upper, windowed level called a clerestory. The pattern of columns and arches used to support and frame these different elevations contributed to the geometry and harmony of the interior. Window tracery (decorative window dividers) also evolved, together with a diverse range of stained glass.

The eastern end of the early Gothic cathedral consisted of a semicircular projection called an apse, which contained the high altar encircled by the ambulatory. The western end - the main entrance to the building - was much more visually impressive. Typically it had a wide frontage topped by two huge towers, whose vertical lines were counterbalanced by horizontal lines of monumental doorways (at ground level), above which were horizontal lines of windows, galleries, sculpture and other stonework. Typically, the long outside walls of the cathedral were supported by lines of vertical piers connected to the upper part of the wall in the form of a semi-arch known as a flying buttress. This early style of Gothic architectural design spread across Europe to Germany, England, the Low Countries, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

For an interesting comparison with Eastern architecture, see: the 12th century Angkor Wat Khmer Temple (1115-45) and the 11th century Kandariya Mahadeva Temple (1017-29).

High Gothic (1200-80) "Rayonnant"

On the Continent, the next phase of Gothic building design is known as Rayonnant Gothic architecture, whose English equivalent is referred to as "Decorated Gothic". Rayonnant Gothic architecture was characterized by new arrays of geometrical decoration which grew increasingly elaborate over time, but hardly any structural improvements. In fact, during the Rayonnant phase, cathedral architects and masons shifted their attention away from the task of optimizing weight distribution and building higher walls, and concentrated instead on enhancing the 'look and feel' of the building. This approach led to the addition of many different decorative features including pinnacles (upright structures, typically spired, that topped piers, buttresses, or other exterior elements), moldings, and, notably, window tracery (such as mullions). The most characteristic feature of the Rayonnant Gothic is the huge circular rose window adorning the west facades of many churches, such as Strasbourg Cathedral (1015-1439). Other typical characteristics of Rayonnant architecture include the slimming-down of interior vertical supports and the merging of the triforium gallery with the clerestory, until walls are largely composed of stained glass with vertical bars of tracery dividing windows into sections. The foremost examples of the Rayonnant style include the cathedrals of Reims, Amiens, Bourges and Beauvais.

Late Gothic (1280-1500) "Flamboyant"

A third style of Gothic architectural design emerged around 1280. Known as Flamboyant Gothic architecture, it was even more decorative than Rayonnant, and continued until about 1500. Its equivalent in English Gothic architecture is the "Perpendicular style". The characteristic feature of Flamboyant Gothic architecture is the widespread use of a flame-like (French: flambe) S-shaped curve in stone window tracery. In addition, walls were transformed into one continuous expanse of glass, supported by skeletal uprights and tracery. Geometrical logic was frequently obscured by covering the exterior with tracery, which overlaid masonry as well as windows, augmented by complex clusters of gables, pinnacles, lofty porticos, and star patterns of extra ribs in the vaulting.

The focus on image rather than structural substance may have been influenced by political events in France, after King Charles IV the Fair died in 1328 without leaving a male heir. This prompted claims from his nearest male relative, his nephew Edward III of England. When the succession went to Philip VI (1293-1350) of the French House of Valois, it triggered the start of the Hundred Years War (1337), which led to a reduction in religious architecture and an increase in the construction of military and civil buildings, both royal and public.

As a result, Flamboyant Gothic designs are evident in many town halls, guild halls, and even domestic residences. Few churches or cathedrals were designed entirely in the Flamboyant style, some notable exceptions being Notre-Dame d'Epine near Chalons-sur-Marne and Saint-Maclou in Rouen. Other important examples include the north spire of Chartres and the Tour de Beurre at Rouen. In France, Flamboyant Gothic architecture eventually lost its way - becoming much too ornate and complicated - and was superceded by the classical forms of Renaissance architecture imported from Italy in the 16th century.

Gothic Architectural Sculpture

Gothic sculpture was inextricably linked to architecture - indeed it might even be called "architectural sculpture" - since the exterior of the typical Gothic cathedral was heavily decorated with column statues of saints and the Holy Family, as well as narrative relief sculpture illustrating a variety of Biblical themes. It was a huge source of income for sculptors throughout Europe, many of whom travelled from site to site. During the Early Gothic, statues and reliefs were little changed from Romanesque sculpture in their stiff, hieratic forms - witness the figures on the Royal Portal of Chartres Cathedral (1145-55). But during the 12th century and early 13th century, they became more true-to-life, as exemplified by the figures at Reims Cathedral (c.1240), who possess individual facial features and bodies, as well as natural poses and gestures. Sculpture assumed a more prominent role during the period 1250-1400, with numerous statues and other carvings appearing on the facades of cathedrals, typically in their own niches. Then, from around 1375 onwards, the courtly idiom known as International Gothic Art ushered in a new era of refinement and prettiness, which rapidly led to an over-the-top artificiality in all types of art including International Gothic illuminations and painting as well as sculpture. From about 1450, Gothic sculpture in France was increasingly influenced by Renaissance sculpture being developed in Italy, although traditional styles - notably in wood carving - persisted later in Germany and other areas of northern Europe.

Gothic Revival Movement (19th Century)
After first reappearing in late-18th century architecture (in Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill home) Gothic designs experienced a major revival during the period of Victorian architecture (c.1840-1900), notably in England and America. Championed by the art critic John Ruskin (1819-1900) and employed principally for its decorative and romantic features, Gothic Revivalism gave a significant impetus to Victorian art thanks to buildings like: the Houses of Parliament (completed 1870), designed by Charles Barry and August Pugin and Fonthill Abbey, designed by James Wyatt. In the United States, the style is exemplified by New York's Trinity Church (1840), designed by Richard Upjohn (1802-78), and St Patrick's Cathedral (1859-79), designed by James Renwick (1818-95). For the influence of Gothic architecture on modern buildings in England and America, see: Architecture 19th Century.

Articles on Medieval Art

• Medieval Christian Art (600-1200) Illuminated texts, sculpture.

• Medieval Sculpture (300-1000) From Late Antiquity to Romanesque.

• Medieval Artists (1100-1400) From Gislebertus onwards.

• Ottonian Art (900-1050) Architecture, ivory carvings, illuminations.

• For more about Medieval architecture, see: Visual Arts Encyclopedia.

Chef Eros tells African culinary story in Eko Re

The biggest culinary exposition is set to take place in a picturesque setting of whimsical displays of zesty culinary techniques, gastronomic intelligence, musical entertainment and storytelling curated by popular Lagos chef, Tolu Eros, aka The Billionaire chef, exclusively for the finest palettes and connoisseurs.

The festival of palettes called ”Eko Re”, loosely translated as “‘This is Lagos” is a passionate tale of African cuisine, composed and curated in a 7-course tasting experience by Nigeria’s foremost international chef, using food as his preferred channel of expression, guaranteed to leave diners mesmerised, as part of his first holiday to the United States since the 2020 pandemic.

The Billionaire Chef and 1952 x Africa, an accelerator of African art, culture and history, have set aside June 2021 – August 2021 to entice only the most discerning foodies from the coasts of Los Angeles to New York, to join his summer holiday tour and share a one-time-only, unusual and unforgettable culinary experience, celebrating African royalty.

Chef Eros’ menu boasts of authentic West African flavours – a royal selection celebrating life and the future, resplendent with Yaji, a spicy and nutty mix specialty of the Hausas used in making the popular street food called Suya Ewa, made from honey beans (oloyin) and indigenous to the Togolese and Beninese people of Western Africa Egusi, a soup made from melon seeds and a staple with the Igbo people of Eastern Nigeria Pepper Soup, made from a collection of African spices such as ataiko, uda and gbafilo, popularly eaten across Western Africa at beer parlors, weddings and on cold rainy days Asaro, native to the Yoruba kingdom is made as a fluffy puree, Jollof Rice, a classic tomato-based rice with massive regional significance across West Africa and Zobo, made from African ruby dried sorrel leaves also known as “Yakwan Zobo” in the Hausa land of Nigeria, traditionally made into a hot drink that is transferred into a clay pot to cool. For the special occasion, the inimitable Chef Eros has converted the piquant Zobo beverage into a delicious gel that will serve as a body of flavour to the final dessert course.

Founder and executive chef of Chef Eros and co-owners of ILE Eros Restaurant in Lagos, Cookie Jar Bakery and other food ventures in Nigeria, Chef Eros says, “As an African who is proud of my heritage, our history and culture remains untold and as such, it has become my life’s work to tell my African food story, one course at a time”.

This is why the men in ancient statues all have small penises

Have you ever been doing the rounds of a museum, taking in the sights, soaking up the culture, and suddenly been struck by how unthinkably tiny the men's penises are in all the statues?

I tell you what, you're not the only one if you've looked at these statues and wondered why the blokes in them were so bloody keen to get their kit off and get clayed up. Because there's not much to shout about down there, if you know what I mean.

But thankfully somebody has answered this ongoing question: why do they all have such small dicks? Was it a case of generally being much colder back then? Because we all know what happens to a chilly penis. Or were we mistaking these guys for adults when really they were pre-pubescent kids?

Ever on the frontline of investigative journalism, we bring you the answers.

We've actually got art historian Ellen Oredsson to thank for the answer to this one, after she spent a large chunk of her professional time explaining exactly what's caused this small-endowment epidemic.

After a reader sent in the question to her blog, How To Talk About Art History, Ellen decided to answer it head on. You can ignore that pun.

It's all to do with the cultural values, apparently. So just as in today's world, "big penises are seen as valuable and manly," things were completely different back then. "Most evidence points to the fact that small penises were considered better than big ones," writes Oredsson.

"One of the reasons historians, such as Kenneth Dover in his landmark book Greek Homosexuality, have suggested that small penises were more culturally valued is that large penises were associated with very specific characteristics: foolishness, lust and ugliness," she adds. So bad luck if your boyfriend's got a whopper he wouldn't have been such a lad back in Ancient Greek times.

The art historian does also jump to the statues' defence, noting that "they're flaccid. If you compare their size to most flaccid male penises, they are actually not significantly smaller than real-life penises tend to be." Alright, alright. We're just used to a bit of erection action round here.

"The ideal Greek man was rational, intellectual and authoritative," explains Oredsson. "He may still have had a lot of sex, but this was unrelated to his penis size, and his small penis allowed him to remain coolly logical."

So there you have it. Big dicks didn't mean big shots back in the day, so small-penised men around the world can now breathe a big sigh of relief and go hang out in museums where they'll be in good company.

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Flying Eros Sculpture - History

The sale’s top lot was this fine Roman marble sculpture, 29½ inches high, of Eros riding a dolphin. It sold for $137,500 and dated to circa the First to Second Century CE. Coley noted the quality and condition of this iconic image as the value driver.

Review by Greg Smith, Photos Courtesy Hindman

CHICAGO – Antiquities are in bloom at Hindman. In his first sale as director and senior specialist of the antiquities department at the Chicago auction house, Jacob Coley put together a $1 million auction. It was the third sale the firm had mounted from the newly-formed department.

Coley had previously worked as the managing director of the ancient art department at Colnaghi – reintroducing the world’s oldest commercial gallery to the United States by opening a branch with Carlos Picón in New York in 2017 – and prior to that was a member of the Greek and Roman art department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“What interested me most was the opportunity to work with more material,” Coley said. “Colnaghi was blue chip, but I believe the middle market was largely being ignored in America. They have that structure in the United Kingdom, but not necessarily in the United States. When I was approached by Hindman, they also recognized that there was a way to fill that gap.”

Coley was happy with the results from his first sale.

The mid-section of a Roman marble Satyr would sell for $75,000. This choice cut of a Satyr marble measured 18½ inches high and aligns with the creature’s reputation for chasing maenads and general ribaldry. It came from the collection of Tina and Simon Beriro.

“I think at first glance, the strength of the sale was in the classical portraiture,” he said. “From Ptolemy III to Trajan, we had a great representation of Greek and Roman portraiture. The top five lots showed the desire for mid-size to large marbles. But if you look closer, you’ll see the ancient pottery and glass performed really well.”

The sale found its leader at $137,500 with a Roman marble sculpture of Eros riding a dolphin. The work measured 29½ inches high and dated circa the First to Second Century CE. It had a line of provenance that reached back to the 1970s. Coley said the image of Eros with a dolphin is prolific throughout time, beginning in antiquity and progressing through the Renaissance, when these images were rediscovered and reproduced. “Then there was the condition, quality and execution of the work – the quality of the face and rendering of Eros,” Coley said. “At times the dolphins can be depicted as quite monstrous, but this one has more charm than some of the others.”

The midsection of a Roman marble Satyr would best its $45,000 high estimate to land at $75,000. Measuring 18½ inches high, the Second Century CE statue featured the nude satyr’s rear end and front, the high relief hair creeping up his legs like a pair of thigh highs. The satyr’s phallus had been chipped off at some point in the past. Coley noted the sexual allure of the mythological beast’s midsection, which he cataloged as a “lower torso.” “To achieve decorum we called it the lower torso,” Coley said, noting he fielded some humor from a number of clients.

The sale’s cover lot was this Greek marble panther that brought $68,750. Coley noted that it may have been a pair with another sold out of the collection of the Albright-Knox Gallery in 2007. It dated circa the Third to Second Century BCE.

Other Roman highlights included a marble portrait head of Emperor Trajan, 11 inches, that sold for $43,750. A Second Century CE bronze depicting Venus brought $22,500, while a marble portrait of a man sold for $22,500. At 27½ inches high, the life-size portrait also dated to the Second Century CE and was notable for its cloak, which the firm said was “pinned around the shoulders in a fashion often affected by princes and notables in military or high civic service.”

With provenance dating back prior to 1906 was a Greek marble panther head circa the Third to Second Century BCE. The auction house said it once belonged atop a full-size marble panther, a figure often depicted alongside Dionysos. Bidders took it to $68,750. Coley pointed to a similar figure deaccessioned by the Albright-Knox Gallery at Sotheby’s in 2007. “This one is without a doubt from the same attic workshop,” he said. “The theory is that these could have been a pair, although the neck breaks differently. It’s possible, based on the archeological evidence where animal pairs are commonly found in burial plots or along demarcation boundaries.”

Other Greek items would do well, including $56,250 paid for a marble funerary stele featuring Eurynome that was illustrated in Clairmont’s 1993 title Classical Attic Tombstones. The central image in the recessed panel features two figures clasping hands, a gesture of farewell. Coley dated it to the Fourth Century BCE. A Greek marble portrait head of Ptolemy III, the third pharaoh of Egypt during the Ptolemaic dynasty, would sell for $37,500. Ptolemy III was responsible for reuniting Egypt and Cyrenaica and the dynasty would reach a crescendo under his rule. The sculpture dated to circa 180-222 BCE and was 7¾ inches high.

A marble funerary stele with elaborate carving featuring Eurynome brought $56,250. Fourth Century BCE.

Objects that were from old collections or featured exhibition history were popular among buyers. Taking $43,750 was a Cycladic marble reclining female figure measuring 10½ inches high. It was among the earliest pieces in the sale, dating circa the Third Millennium BCE or later. The work had at one time been attributed to the Stafford Master by Pat Getz-Gentle, though she would rename the artist to the Louvre Sculptor. It had been published in four books and exhibited three times.

Also from old collections were some of the high flying Ancient Egyptian lots. Selling for $37,500 was a wood mummy mask, only 4¾ inches high, that dated to the Third Intermediate Period, circa 1070 to 712 BCE. The work featured an old inventory label for Dikran Kelekian. “We went to the Kelekian archive and the number matched the inventory,” Coley said, proving it was cataloged pre-1926. Dikran Kelekian was among the earliest dealers to introduce antiquities to the American market when he established a gallery in New York City in 1893.

Selling for $37,500 was a painted wood figure of the Egyptian god Ptah-Sokar-Osiris, 19½ inches tall. The work had provenance to the collection of E Towry White, a late Nineteenth Century Egyptologist. It had also passed through the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. The firm wrote, “Ptah-Sokar-Osiris was a conflation of three separate deities, all of whom were identified with fertility and regeneration as well as death and burial.” Coley noted that it still had mineral fragments in the pigments, which would reflect light when illuminated.

The late Nineteenth Century English Egyptologist, E. Towry White, was listed on the provenance of this painted wood figure of the Egyptian god Ptah-Sokar-Osiris, 19½ inches tall, that sold for $37,500.

Coley was able to dig up a few discoveries in his research on certain objects. At 29 inches high, a Roman marble sculpture support with a male torso would have been lightly described as fragmented, the figure missing his head, arm and leg. “Looking at it, you want to know what this is,” Coley said. He soon found a comparable piece, “Hunter with Dog,” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Inv. 1984.167). The comparable example depicted the figure holding a club in one hand and a hare in the other, a wild boar dead on the ground and a dog lunging upward to get the hare from his master. “What was fragmentary at the time, turns into something much more,” he said. It sold for $12,500.

Two Roman mosaic fragment panels sold near each other in separate lots at $10,000 and $10,625. Coley noted, “These are just humble mosaic fragments, but they were published in A. Michaelis’ 1882 book, Ancient Marbles in Great Britain. Michaelis was an archeologist and ancient art scholar and that book is a major title, a seminal work. He went around to all the treasure houses in England and cataloged their antiquities collections – we know of a lot of these old British collections because of his efforts.” Mosaic panels from this same floor are currently on exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago.

In leaving New York City, Coley departed one of the more active trading centers for antiquities in the United States, though he noted that the Midwest holds its fair share of bounty.

“The Midwest has a healthy interest in ancient art, and that statement is substantiated by the amount of Midwestern collections consigned to this sale. We had two Midwest private collections and one of them was quite important.

“Overall I’m very pleased with the results,” he concluded. “There were good results in cultures that aren’t necessarily the strongest – people were willing to go outside Greek, Roman and Egyptian.”

Alexander Calder

Sculptor, world renowned for his stabiles and mobiles begun in the 1930 s. Calder’s vision was broad and groundbreaking, and his output was prodigious—ranging from small figurines to large, architecturally related sculptures, from whimsical toys to stage sets.

Joan Stahl American Artists in Photographic Portraits from the Peter A. Juley & Son Collection (Washington, D.C. and Mineola, New York: National Museum of American Art and Dover Publications, Inc., 1995 )

Alexander Calder was born in Philadelphia in 1898 , the son of the distinguished academic sculptor A. Stirling Calder. Trained as a mechanical engineer, he turned to art, attending the Art Students League in New York City. There he took classes with George Luks, Guy Pène du Bois, Boardman Robinson, and John Sloan and subsequently he established himself as an illustrator and caricaturist in New York.

While in Paris in 1926 , he took up sculpture. After working on wood pieces, he began to make circus figures composed of twisted wire, wheels, string, and cloth. His miniature circus captured the attention of the avant-garde in Paris, where he met and was influenced by a number of artists.

Impressed by the work of Juan Miró, Jean Arp, and Fernand Léger, he created his first abstract stabiles in 1930 . These works also owe much to the rectilinear designs of Piet Mondrian. From these early works and his interest in movement, Calder developed handcranked, motorized, and then wind-powered constructions that were dubbed ​ “ mobiles” by the French artist Marcel Duchamp. These sculptures, usually painted in bold basic colors, turn, bob, and rotate, in a constantly changing relationship to the space around them.

National Museum of American Art ( CD-ROM ) (New York and Washington D.C.: MacMillan Digital in cooperation with the National Museum of American Art, 1996 )

Crosscurrents: Modern Art from the Sam Rose and Julie Walters Collection

In eighty-eight striking paintings and sculptures, Crosscurrents captures modernism as it moved from early abstractions by O’Keeffe, to Picasso and Pollock in midcentury, to pop riffs on contemporary culture by Roy Lichtenstein, Wayne Thiebaud, and Tom Wesselmann—all illustrating the com

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo began to paint in 1925, while recovering from a near-fatal bus accident that devastated her body and marked the beginning of lifelong physical ordeals. Over the next three decades, she would produce a relatively small yet consistent and arresting body of work. In meticulously executed paintings, Kahlo portrayed herself again and again, simultaneously exploring, questioning, and staging her self and identity. She also often evoked fraught episodes from her life, including her ongoing struggle with physical pain and the emotional distress caused by her turbulent relationship with celebrated painter Diego Rivera.

Such personal subject matter, along with the intimate scale of her paintings, sharply contrasted with the work of her acclaimed contemporaries, the Mexican Muralists. Launched in the wake of the Mexican Revolution and backed by the government, the Mexican Muralist movement aimed to produce monumental public murals that mined the country’s national history and identity. An avowed Communist, like her peers Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros, Kahlo at times expressed her desire to paint “something useful for the Communist revolutionary movement,” yet her art remained “very far from work that could serve the Party.” 1 She nonetheless participated in her peers’ exaltation of Mexico’s indigenous culture, avidly collecting Mexican popular art and often making use of its motifs and techniques. In My Grandparents, My Parents, and I, for example, she adopted the format of retablos, small devotional paintings made on metallic plates. She also carefully crafted a flamboyant Mexican persona for herself, wearing colorful folk dresses and pre-Columbian jewelry, in a performative display of her identity.

Kahlo’s early recognition was prompted by French poet and founder of Surrealism André Breton, who enthusiastically embraced her art as self-made Surrealism, and included her work in his 1940 International Exhibition of Surrealism in Mexico City. Yet if her art had an uncanny quality akin to the movement’s tenets, Kahlo resisted the association: “They thought I was a Surrealist but I wasn’t,” she said. “I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.” 2

Introduction by Charlotte Barat, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture, 2016

Frida Kahlo, The Diary of Frida Kahlo, An Intimate Self-Portrait (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1995), 252.

“Mexican Autobiography,” Time, April 27, 1953, 92.

The research for this text was supported by a generous grant from The Modern Women's Fund.


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