These splendid circular plaques, cast in relief in patinated bronze, are modelled after the iconic 'Night and Day' roundels by Bertel Thorvaldsen - two of the greatest works in all of Neoclassical art and sculpture. 'Night and day' have long been a popular and important theme in Western art, Michelangelo's sculptures in the Sagrestia Nuova of San Lorenzo, Florence are perhaps the most famous examples, but Thorvaldsen's works, which blend Baroque traditions with Neoclassical developments, are no less significant and constitute a defining moment in the art of the Neoclassical era.
The two objects depict a pair of winged maidens, Classical in appearance, accompanied by cherubs, flowers, and birds. One depicts 'Day' a gliding maiden full of vitality and grace who strews flowers before her, and looks back to a winged putto off her shoulder who carries a flaming torch and signifies the dawn. 'Night', on the other hand, drifts drowsily along, in a state of insomnia, and clutches two sleeping cherubim to her breast, adorned with poppies, suggesting an opium-induced soporific state.
Crafted with exceptional skill, these works faithfully render in bronze Thorvaldsen's original design, which he produced in 1815 and 1816. One of the roundels is marked 'AT', possibly for the maker.