Apollo and the Horses of the Sun
Jewelry motifs of Nymphs and Satyrs and Olympian Gods and
Goddesses invaded courts and palaces in the sixteenth century.
Fashions were often mythological.
Apollo…son of Zeus…patron of truth…god of the sun…healer
with many erotic adventures to his name (how many of you thought
this was only a presidential attribute…hmmm?) fed on nectar and
ambrosia instead of mother’s milk…at four years old fought and
killed the dragon named Python who had molested his mother
during her pregnancy. Good god. This was no ordinary god. This
was a god’s god. By Jove… no no. Getting mixed up. Different
Anyway…to get back on track. The close of the fifteenth
century and the beginning of the sixteenth century brought a
flood of inspiration to the art of the European jewelers. It was
a time of continuance of the birth of aesthetic feeling. Jewelry
was more than a pretty trinket to be worn on the bodice…or
wherever for that matter. If it wasn’t created directly for
ritual and magic making ceremonies…it was then often
representational of those moments.
There is not a great deal of jewelry available from the early
eras. Except–as a generalization–for pieces with mediocre
stones. The reason is this: Those pieces with fine gems in them
were often broken up in order to recycle and make new artifacts
to be worn on new bodices, etc. But some pieces remain…here and
there. And one of them–the Enseigne of Apollo and the Horses of
the Sun–made of enameled gold and pearls…estimated to be an
Italian piece circa 1550 is available now…on the Tyler-Adam
pages…for all of you to see. When you finish reading this
article that is. I don’t believe any of you would stop dead in
the middle of this entrancing narrative to go look at a picture.
Should any of you have the opportunity to be in France, you
might want to visit the Musee Conde, in Chantilly, where the
original illustration is on display. As to where the piece itself
now resides…I have no idea. My does not have this
And so my friends…I leave you now to visit my home page,
scroll down to Tidbit Graphics, click on Apollo…and see the
Enseigne–French word for “sign”…which is what this piece is
And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
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