BEAUTIFUL RAPÉ BOX IN WALNUT & IVORY, LEDA & THE SWAN MYTHOLOGICAL SCENE
Presented here, a beautiful Rapé box made in walnut wood and masterfully decorated with a mythological scene depicting the well known story of Leda and the Swan, handpainted over a thin ivory plate, which is protected by a domed crystal. As seen at the pictures, unfortunatelly the whole scene has faded a bit, but still very nice. Box cover has a crack, as shown in the pictures. Box lateral is decorated with ivory inlays all around.
A delicate example of end-of-Century art in Rapé boxes.
...a bit of story:
Leda and the Swan is a story and subject in art from Greek mythology in which the god Zeus, in the form of a swan, seduces (or in some versions, rapes) Leda. According to later Greek mythology, Leda bore Helen and Polydeuces, children of Zeus, while at the same time bearing Castor and Clytemnestra, children of her husband Tyndareus, the King of Sparta. In the W. B. Yeats version, it is subtly suggested that Clytemnestra, although being the daughter of Tyndareus, has somehow been traumatized by what the swan has done to her mother (see below). According to many versions of the story, Zeus took the form of a swan and seduced Leda on the same night she slept with her husband King Tyndareus. In some versions, she laid two eggs from which the children hatched. In other versions, Helen is a daughter of Nemesis, the goddess who personified the disaster that awaited those suffering from the pride of Hubris.
The subject was rarely seen in the large-scale sculpture of antiquity, although a representation of Leda in sculpture has been attributed in modern times to Timotheus (compare illustration, below left); small-scale sculptures survive showing both reclining and standing poses, in cameos and engraved gems, rings, and terracotta oil lamps. Thanks to the literary renditions of Ovid and Fulgentius it was a well-known myth through the Middle Ages, but emerged more prominently as a classicizing theme, with erotic overtones, in the Italian Renaissance.
MEASURES: 55mm diameter, 25mm high.
ESTIMATED AGE: 1890-1910
GENERAL CONDITIONS: good general conditions. Please refer to the pictures.
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