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By Ernst March Söhne factory (German, 1835-1902) | Kuhse, Gottwalt (German, fl. 1870-1890)
Crafted in 1881 by the exceptionally accomplished sculptor, Gottwalt Kuhse, this beautiful terracotta sculpture depicts Hebe, the Greek goddess of youth.
The sculpture depicts the full-length figure of Hebe, the Greek goddess ‘with the rose cheeks’, who embodies youthfulness. She was also the cupbearer to the Olympian gods, and the wife of the hero Heracles.
Hebe is depicted here wearing a loose Greek style dress, tied around her waist by an embroidered and tasselled band. She carries a water jug in her left hand—perhaps a reference to her role as cupbearer—and clasps a large leafy branch with her right. Her weight is carried on her left foot, and her right is relaxed, causing her hips and upper body to turn slightly in a classical contrapposto pose. Hera’s head is tilted to the right, and she gazes thoughtfully off into the distance.
The sculpture of Hebe is mounted onto a tall columnar plinth. This is edged with acanthus leaves and decorated, on its front, with a lion’s head mask, a swag, and bead-and-reel band. The plinth is dated ‘1881’ and signed, ‘G. Kuhse’ for the German sculptor, Gottwalt Kuhse, who was active in Berlin in the late 19th Century. It is also stamped with the manufacturer’s name, ‘E. March Söhne Berlin’. The prestigious Ernst March Söhne factory (1835-1902) specialised in the production of high-quality majolica and terracotta works, like this piece. The company won multiple awards for their ceramic wares at major exhibitions, both in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.
Figure: Height 165cm, width 72cm, depth 57cm
Plinth: Height 91cm, diameter 62cm
Total: Height 256cm
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