A look at a very well preserved Greek Bronze inkwell from the 4th Century B.C. It is remarkably complete with its suspension chains and lid, and the pyxis like body of the inkwell is decorated with finely granulated bands, as is the base and top. It is one of the finest examples of its type I have seen.
Dear Reader, it has been a while since I’ve written about the eagle and serpent. But I’ve been working on it slowly. Currently it is the custody of Frank Aon of Orenda Labs to be examined and tested. I’m not sure the exact nature of the testing but he has access to some very sophisticated laboratories, which have specialized equipment that one cannot access easily. He believes in its antiquity, but the repairs done to it have eliminated much of the evidence of its age one generally looks for, patina, and core material. This June I went on trip to Florence, Naples and Rome, looking for parallels. The collector/dealer from whom the eagle came, believed it to be 17th Century Italian, and by Giambologna. Florence is where I was able to see the most bronzes from that period and by Giambologna and his followers. In Rome and Naples I hoped to find parallels for the eagle in marble and or bronze. It was in Florence however that I got the most helpful parallels, however no […]
Saturday, October 8, 2011 Dear Reader, I am going to tell another story of making of a discovery, and the effort to confirm it. I am generally reticent to disclose where I buy things, but in this case I am going to relate the entire experience of discovery and research as I attempt to prove my case. By sharing this with you, I hope to give the reader a sense of what goes on behind the scenes with art dealers. The story will also illustrate a problem that both benefits and works against me – the blindness and superficiality of many of the experts in the field of ancient art. What I mean by this will become clearer as I tell the tale. In June of last year I went to New York to preview the antiquity auctions, and while at Christie’s noticed a sign for a Decorative arts sale that included property from the collection of Michael Hall. Michael is someone I have known well for many years. He is a prominent, if controversial, […]
Bronze head of a sacred Bull. Roman, ca 1st Century A.D. from Octodurus, in Switzerland. This monumental bronze head is nearly two feet tall at least, and is displayed on a very tall pedestal giving it real majesty. On loan to the Metropolitan Museum from the Gallo-Roman Museum in Martigne Switzerland, this is apparently the finest Roman bronze found in Switzerland. What strikes me about it is that it looks Near Eastern and hardly looks Roman, the treatment of the hair on the forehead is so spiky, each lock is a pyramid, almost flame like, in a stylized non naturalistic manner more akin to Persian or early archaic Greek sculpture than Roman. It apparently had a third horn in the center of the forehead, as a marker of its sacred nature, as if the sheer energy of the piece did not already make that plain. It really is a beautiful and arresting sculpture and wonderful to see. What strikes one about this head is the sense of the sacred found in nature, which the Romans […]