RAPE OF EUROPA: A MYTHOLOGICAL SCULPTURAL GROUP CLOCK

RAPE OF EUROPA: A MYTHOLOGICAL SCULPTURAL GROUP CLOCK

1820 Continental

Offered by Charles Plante Fine Arts

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To be executed in alabaster; gilt bronze and enamel dial; black marble platform

Europa, with an arch of drapery over her head, atop the Bull on the point of being borne out to sea and carried off to Crete 21in. high

In the Classical mythological tale of the Rape of Europa, she was beguiled by the seemingly placid nature of Zeus (Jupiter) disguised as a white bull, was abducted to Crete and ravished by the god who had by then resumed his normal form. The bull whose form Zeus had taken became the zodiacal constellation Taurus. The Europa myth had an obvious resonance in the Restauration period, alluding to the pan-European disruption of the Napoleonic wars. In addition, the composition for the sculptural group on this clock is loosely based on the painting by Guido Reni looted from Rome by Napoleon and still in Paris at the Louvre for the first years of Louis XVIII's reign. In view of Louis XVIII's antipathy to the Allies' intention in 1815 to recover the art works appropriated from other countries by Napoleon, and to which he only consented in 1817, the modelling of a clock after a looted picture was a pointed political statement in support of the king.

This design is for another openwork composition facilitated by the physical nature of alabaster (see note to cat. #48, including the reference to similar alabaster clocks in the Spanish royal collection).
Dimensions
Height 68.00 cm (26.77 inches)
Width 48.30 cm (19.02 inches)
Medium
Watercolour, gouache and pen and ink, on laid paper
Charles Plante Fine Arts

Charles Plante Fine Arts
50 Gloucester Street
London
SW1V 4EH

+44 (0)20 7834 3305
+44 (0)7798 626249
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