Greek Bronze Applique in the form of a Griffin and Bull
Period: 4th century B.C.
Dimensions: H: 11 cm (4.3 in)
Ex- B. Blondeel private collection, 2001.
Some green oxides on the back side; light green and brown-reddish patina on the front.
The beautiful bronze appliqué represents the battle of a griffin and a bull. The mythological animal keeps its head straight, with a stare look. His ears are erect, the beak is closed, and the body is tense. The wings are spread along his back. The tail is raised and whips the air. The griffin rears taking support on his hind legs to free the left paw which he is posing on the kneeling bull. The bull turns his head and looks upward toward the conqueror. He is on the ground, apparently defeated and waiting for mercy. He is dragging the hind legs and bringing back his tail. His head is small and rounded, with similarly rounded ears and muzzle. The powerful neck is indicated by the relief line; the tuft of hair on the right front foot suggests the animal’s physical strength. More details are shown by the incision lines: the feathers of the wings, the goatee hair, beak, eyebrows and eyes of the griffin.
The fine modeling and sculptural qualities of this rare piece refer to the Northern Greek art. The two holes suggest that the applique was affixed to a surface, while the remains of the bronze chains on the top and bottom indicate that additional pieces were suspended from it, which could be the small bells. The appliqué probably decorated a chariot or a harness, a furniture piece or tripod.
Catalogue Bernard Blondeel, Paris, 2001, no. 11.