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Post Lot Text
A CARVED IVORY FIGURE OF PERSEUS
NORTH GERMAN, SECOND HALF 17TH CENTURY
Depicted nude and standing with his left foot on a rock, drawing a sword from his scabbard with his right hand and with a flute by his feet; on an integrally carved naturalistic oval plinth and later rectangular ebonised wood base, with an indistinctly marked paper label
In classical mythology Perseus was the son of the god Zeus, who came to Perseus' mother, Danae, in the form of a shower of golden rain. He famously beheaded the gorgon Medusa, who was so terrible to look upon that she turned anyone who did so to stone. He also rescued Andromeda, an Ethiopian princess, who had been chained to a rock and left as a sacrifice to a sea monster. In the present ivory, the hero is likely depicted in the latter scene, drawing his sword to vanquish his opponent. Stylistically, the figure can be compared to the work of artists active in the north of Germany such as the sculptor responsible for the figure of Hercules in Berlin (C. Theuerkauff, Die Bildwerke in Elfenbein des 16.-19. Jahrhunderts, Berlin, 1986, no. 65). Both figures share a sense of tightly coiled torsion, as well as the muscular proportions of the body and delicate facial features.