List Price £9,500
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These candelabra are set on tall, rectangular patinated bronze plinths, their bases edged with gilt bronze ovolo bands. The fronts of the plinths are decorated with classical trophies – that is, collections of weaponry and armour, historically taken from an enemy defeated in battle, and displayed as symbols of the military prowess of the victor. These trophies take the form of shields, swords, spears and axes, grouped together with oak and laurel branches, which were ancient symbols of victory.
The plinth tops are covered with gilt bronze, and topped by the patinated bronze figures of Mars, the Roman god of war, and Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and strategy in war. Both figures are dressed in armour, ready for battle. Mars wears a helmet (galea) with a plume, and a tunic with a breastplate, and he holds a legionnare sword out in front of him. Minerva is dressed in a long tunic, with her breastplate, decorated with the head of the Gorgon, gifted to her by Perseus. She also wears a helmet with a plume, and holds long spear by her side, pointing across to Mars with her free hand. In Homer’s Iliad, Minerva fights and defeats Mars, for supporting the Trojans in the Trojan War, when she was an ally of the Greeks. This epic battle story was re-imagined by artists in the 18th Century, such as Jacques-Louis David, who painted ‘The Combat of Mars and Minerva’ in 1771.
Mars and Minerva stand next to the patinated bronze candelabra stems, which are decorated with stylised leaves and anthemion patterns. The stems are encircled by gilt bronze laurel wreaths, which were symbols of triumph in combat. Each candelabrum features five patinated bronze scrolled, vine-like branches, which hold gilt drip-pans, and patinated leafy urn-shaped capitals, with gilt sconces.
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