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Cork Model of the Temple of Zeus at Paestum
c. 1820 Naples
Offered by Thomas Coulborn & Sons
Paestum was a major ancient Greek city on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea in Magna Graecia. After its foundation by Greek colonists under the name of ‘Poseidonia’ (Ancient Greek: Ποσειδωνία) it was eventually conquered by the Lucanians and later the Romans. The Lucanians renamed it ‘Paistos’ and the Romans gave the city its current name, ‘Paestum’.
The ruins of Paestum are notable for their three ancient Greek temples which still remain in Paestum and are in a very good state of preservation. These three temples are in the Doric order, dating from the first half of the 6th Century BC. They were dedicated to Hera and Poseidon, although they have traditionally been identified as a basilica and temples of Neptune and Ceres, owing to incorrect attributions in the 18th Century. This model depicts the second Temple of Hera, which was constructed around 460–450 BC, but which had been assigned as a temple dedicated to Poseidon. It was discovered that the temple was used to worship Zeus and another unknown god, in addition to Hera. On the east side of the temple, the remains of two altars are visible, one large and one smaller. The smaller one is a Roman addition. It is possible that the temple was originally dedicated to both Hera and Poseidon; and some of the offertory statues around the larger altar are thought to have led to this affiliation.
In Greek mythology, the Twelve Olympians were the principal deities of the Greek pantheon. Hera and Poseidon were two of these major deities. Hera was the goddess of women and marriage, and was Zeus’ wife and one of his three sisters. Poseidon was the god of the sea, earthquakes and horses.
The use of cork for creating models of ancient structures became popular in the sixteenth Century, as the texture of the material bears resemblance to weathered stone. In the eighteenth Century, the production of cork models was a flourishing craft that developed in Rome and Naples in response to demand from travellers. ‘Bearing Rome across the Alps...’ was a phrase coined when explorers returning from Italy brought back beautiful, expensive models of ancient Italian architecture recreated in cork as souvenirs. Cork models became souvenirs and objects of study in Rome at the beginning of the classicist period in architecture. This was coupled with a modern study of classical antiquity and a growing interest in the ancient world amongst educated Europeans, who pilgrimaged on the ‘Grand Tour’. Around 1800, cork from cork oaks in Southern Europe was a material which was used frequently. To make this cork suitable for creating models, the curved cork boards had to be flattened for a long time in presses, before they could be shaped using a variety of sharp tools. Cork, being pliable and porous, was the ideal material for optically portraying the stonework of ancient buildings and, being light, was therefore easily transported. Precision was important, as was the correct scale and the proper appearance. Augusto Rosa (1738-1784), a Roman architect who earned himself an extra income producing models of a wide variety of ruins in and around Rome in 1780, is considered the inventor of exact architectural modelling in cork. The origin of the name ‘Phelloplastik’ (from the Greek: φελλός ‘phello’ = cork) is debated, but was possibly given to the art of ‘Korkbildnerei’ by Franz Oberthür, a theology professor from Würzburg, when he visited Rosa during a trip to Italy; or by Karl August Böttiger (1760 –1835) in circa 1800. Whereas ‘Korkbildnerei’ is considered to go back at least until the sixteenth Century, ‘Phelloplastik’ began with Augusto Rosa and is ascribed to the eighteenth and nineteenth Centuries. Makers such as Giovanni Altieri (1767-90), and Domenico Padiglione and his sons, ran workshops producing models, often from measured drawings. But models were also popular with the public in London, who flocked to see exhibitions of celebrated structures from around the world in miniature form. Other key manufacturers of this modelling practice of sculpting in cork were the Italian Antonio Chichi (1743-1816) and the German Carl May (1747-1822).
Domenico Padiglione: In 1806, Domenico Padiglione was employed as an official model maker by the Real Museo (Royal Museum), Naples. He built cork models, working to form a ‘Gallery of Models of ancient monuments’ in the Museum, of which Antonio Bonucci would become the director. In 1810, a series of models had already been created and were temporarily exhibited in the Quadreri, amongst them that of the Temple of Poseidon of Paestum (circa 1805). Padiglione also made additional money by creating models for general sale. The children of Domenico Agostini and his wife Felice Padiglione continued to work on the maintenance and restoration of the relief models. The latter was commissioned in 1861 by Giuseppe Fiorelli, then Inspector of Excavations, to execute the great cork model of Pompeii on a scale of 1:100. Domenico Padiglione also led the Cork Model Workshop at the Museo Borbonico (which was open between 1777-1859 and is now known as Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli) in Naples for more than twenty years.
Comparators: Both the Soane Museum, London and Yale University Art Gallery have similar cork temples, models of the Temple of Zeus. The temple at the Soane Museum is called a ‘Cork model of the Temple of ‘Neptune’ (Hera) at Paestum’ (Museum No. MR25; http://collections.soane.org/object-mr25). Yale University Art Gallery’s temple is called ‘Model of Greek temple at Paestum’, by an unknown maker, dated before 1835 (Accession Number: 1835.10; http://discover.odai.yale.edu/ydc/Record/1924172).
'La realizzazione del plastico di Pompei' / Valeria Sampaolo, in Il Museo: review of the Italian museum system (rivista del Sistema museale italiano), 3 (1993) p. 79-95.
'Il plastico di Pompei'/texts: Valeria Sampaolo.- [ Naples , 2001 ] - 1 fold : ill. ; 22 cm . With a copy : Ministry for Cultural Assets and Activities , Archaeological Service of Naples and Caserta , MANN.
'Il *Museo Reale di Napoli al tempo di Giuseppe Bonaparte e di Gioacchino Murat' / Andrea Milanese, in the review of the National Institute of Archaeology and History of Art (Rivista dell'Istituto Nazionale d'Archeologia e Storia dell'Arte), Ser 3 . , a. 19-20., 1996-1997, p.346-405.
|Height||25.00 cm||(9.84 inches)|
|Width||66.00 cm||(25.98 inches)|
|Depth||30.00 cm||(11.81 inches)|
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