Jupiter

Jupiter

Jupiter

30 œuvres majeuresMajor Works
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Origine et date: 
Limoges, 1559
Artiste(s): 

Little is known of Pierre Courteys (died in 1581) whose first works of art are dated to 1544. He was perhaps trained in Pierre Reymond’s workshop, another enameller from Limoges. He knew how to give a sense of vigour to this monumental Jupiter, which was inspired by a drawing by Rosso Fiorentino engraved by Jacopo Caraglio: the rather solid face with prominent muscles, with nude forearms ready to go into battle, seduced by his force and dynamism. His dress is that of a man of war but that does not necessarily abandon all hints of elegance: though it is lined with a leather apron, the tunic is nevertheless embroidered in gold with Oriental patterns. This monumental oval plaque whose dimensions show the degree of perfection reached by enamel art, is part of a total of nine pieces, representing six Olympian gods (Jupiter, Saturn, Apollo, Mercury, Mars, Hercules) and three virtues (Justice, Charity, Prudence). These nine plaques are almost certainly not the only ones of the complete series; it is tempting to interpret this series as a royal order that was interrupted by the accidental death of Henry II in July 1559. Showing a greatly refined technique combining effects of depth and colour, these plaques were made to be hung from a certain height, probably in a great palatial room, perhaps set into the panelling. A little earlier, Pierre Courteys had completed a great enamelled plaque for Anne of Montmorency that was also raised, representing The Death of Laocoon: it is currently held at the Museum of Fine Arts in Limoges.