Collection Online

The Goddess of the Arts
(c. 1775)

Medium
enamel, copper
Measurements
31.9 × 27.0 × 0.8 cm
Place/s of Execution
London, England
Accession Number
1995.758
Department
International Decorative Arts
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased from Admission Funds, 1995
Gallery location
Not on display
Description
The large plaque shows a personification of the Arts as a woman seated in an architectural setting adorned by large vases. A putto leaning on her lap seems to draw her attention to Nature depicted as a statue of Diana of Ephesus, and, in the sky, an hourglass and a serpent biting its tail, symbols of Time and Eternity. Numerous trophies alluding to the Arts lie in the foreground, while the principal figure, draped in vivid colours, leans upon a painting wherein two putti enact Pliny's story of the discovery of painting by tracing the shadow thrown by an antique lamp.