Lot 186: A Continental patinated bronze group of Perseus and Pegasus, late 19th century
November 30, 2016
Newbury, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: A Continental patinated bronze group of Perseus and Pegasus, late 19th century, in the manner of work by Emile Louis Picault, the hero seated on the left side of the beast and portrayed as nude but for a winged helmet adorned with a recumbent hound and wings, the hero's drapery billowing out behind him; Pegasus shown as rearing up above a trophy of shields, quivers, a helmet and a cuirass, on a naturalistically cast base, 61.6cm high, 53cm wide Pegasus, the winged equine offspring of Poseidon and Medusa was ridden by both Perseus and Bellerophon in Greek myth, but it is almost certain that the portrayal here is of Perseus. Apart from anything else, Perseus as the more well known of the two heroes appears more in later art. The use of the winged helmet is also suggestive of Perseus, (although there is no mention of this made in antiquity). The Cap of Invisibility (or Helm of Darkness) that was given by Hades to Perseus was not winged, but in later representations wings were often present, for instance in Picault's work which the current group bears similarities to, Canova's Perseus with the Head of Medusa, and of course in Benvenuto Cellini's celebrated version of 1545. The winged sandals worn by the hero in this representation are also indicative of Perseus, the sandals having been lent by Hermes to aid him in his quest.