22 November 2018
A Roman sculpted white marble vasque wall basin
A Roman sculpted white marble vasque wall basin, late 16th / early 17th century, of loosely demi-lune section, the front carved in relief with a gorgon's mask, her open mouth as a water spout, her hair as serpents issuing to each side beneath wings, the sides with relief carved figural scenes from classical mythology, above a dentilled underside; the rough hewn interior with a central drainage hole, 50cm high, 105cm wide, 92cm deep;
Mounted on twin metal supports to a metal base
48cm square; the height overall on the stand, 76cm
The basic form of a wall mounting fountain basin with Medusa's mouth as the water spout was much utilised and examples exist from antiquity. It is resultantly extremely difficult to try to place this vasque more specifically, but as part of the High Renaissance fascination with all things antique, it was probably carved in Rome towards the end of the 16th century. The head of Medusa, less grotesque than the usual Gorgon, has its antecedent in a number of Hellenistic and Roman marbles. It is flanked here by gigantomachy relief representing a battle between nereids and tritons, framed by carved vine motifs which had become popular in Rome from the 2nd century A.D.
Private Collection, Carpentras, France