Style Renaissance / Ref.9420
Judgement of Paris 16th century fireback
Width: 35'' ⅞ 91cm
Height: 34'' ⅝ 88cm
Charming 16th century cast iron fireback , representing the Judgment of Paris.
This Renaissance’s essential subject is here represented after Raffaello Sanzio’s version, engraved by Marco Antonio Raimondi, which success had caused a very large amount of artifacts copying its pattern. Like in Raffaello’s version, the young prince is sit under a tree on the left and the three goddesses face him, the last one turning her back. Paris’s profile highlights the muscles of his back and legs, an important element for Raffaello was then the first to paint antiquity nudes for all the Judgment of Paris’s characters.
In order to adapt the prolific genius’s painting, the master metalworker gave Minerva a shield and Juno a royal scepter, so that they’d be better recognized. This solution has been adopted for the embossed design of medals in the same period, as those preserved in the Louvre museum.
Overhanging the composition in a mandorla, a winged Cupid, holding his bow and quiver, expresses the supremacy of his power. The 16th century puts indeed Eros’s power in the spotlight, particularly through the Neoplatonistic mystique known by Raffaello, as a world-making force. Eros is thus the first of all gods, here making his law : the victory of love upon the other virtues that are wisdom and force.
The scene is flanked by bay leaves topped by laurel wreathed heads, maybe poets. On either side of Cupid, a pair of Moorish heads; two scrolled acanthus leaves rise up and join together above the mandorla.
This fireback is similar to the one in the collection of Dr Coliez in Longwy, shown in the book by Henri Carpentier ""Plaques de cheminées"", 1967, Paris, t.I, p.394.
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