Gorgeous Pair of Ormolu Louis XVI Style Silenus Decorated Covered Vases
An absolutely gorgeous pair of Ormolu baluster shaped covered vases, in the Louis XVI Style.
The Gilt Bronze pieces feature two handles decorated with bunches of grapes, while the two main registers feature the jovial face of ‘Silenus’.
The removable top features a delicately represented blueberry.
The bases are in red marble otherwise known as Red Morello Cherry Marble.
In Greek mythology, Silenus was a satyr, adoptive father and tutor of the god Dionysus. He is moreover the god personifying Drunkenness, quite close in this sense to two others who are both part of the procession of Dionysus, Comos (representing good food) and Coros (representing satiety).
Silenus is described as the “son of Hermes”, as satyrs often are, but other traditions make him the son of Pan and a nymph, or of Pan and Gaia (the Earth). He is said to have been born in Nysa, in Asia.
Historians often attribute to him the invention of the flute (Along with Marsyas).
These two pieces are exquisitely chiseled and the cherry marble base makes for a perfect balance.
The gilding of the bronze is here obtained by Mercury Gilding.
It is a process that gives a high quality, durable gilding that has been applied to most gilt bronze sculptures since the Renaissance. It is now abandoned, because its use gives off mercury vapors that are very toxic and harmful to the health of the craftsman and the environment. This process is also called ground gold, or ormolu in English.
It was replaced in the 19th century by Galvanic Gilding which would become Christofle’s specialty.
Our lovely covered vases are pegged as 18th Century.