Collection Online

The Goddess of the Arts
(c. 1775)

enamel, copper
31.9 × 27.0 × 0.8 cm
Place/s of Execution
London, England
painted in brown l.r.: W. H Craft.
Accession Number
International Decorative Arts
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased from Admission Funds, 1995
Gallery location
18th Century Decorative Arts & Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International
Physical 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.