Greek Bronze Mirror Cover with Herakles and Princess Auge
Greek · late 4th century B.C.
Dia: 15.4 cm (6 in)
The circular mirror cover was rendered with applied repoussé relief and three-dimensionally modeling of the figures of Auge, daughter of King Aleus of Tegea, and the hero, Herakles. The perfection of both human forms, as well as the clarity and balance of the figural composition, suggest that the artist may have copied a sculptural group. Herakles reclines on his lion skin in full nudity, revealing his well-trained muscular body, as a quiver and club lay in the foreground.
The complex and masterfully designed composition explains the story: in a drunken state, supporting his heavy body on his left arm, Herakles leans forward, removing Auge’s finely detailed chiton, curled at the hem. He is attempting to seduce her in a maneuver which ultimately proves successful: the product of the union between Herakles and Auge is Telephos, the Greek hero who, after being raised by a hind, marries a Trojan princess and becomes King of Mysia.
Formerly, A. Kahn (or Cahn) collection, Frankfurt;
Ex- Galerie Segredakis, Paris;
Ex- Christos G. Bastis (1904-1999) collection, New York, acquired 21 April 1951;
Sotheby’s New York, 9 December 1999, lot 122;
The Gilbert collection, Cambridge, Massachusetts, acquired in New York, 9 December 1999.
Antiquities from the Collection of Christos G Bastis, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1987, pp. 109-110, no. 109, cover illus.;
From Myth to Life: Images of Women from the Classical World, Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts, 12 March – 10 October 2004, pp. 86-87, no. 34.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1987;
Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts, 12 March – 10 October 2004;
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, 12 February – 31 July, 2005;
Tampa Museum of Art, Florida, 18 September – 3 December 2005.