Dimensions: 10 5/8 × 4 × 3 1/4 in. (27 × 10.2 × 8.3 cm)
Marks: In underglaze blue, faintly showing, the Meissen trademark of crossed swords. " C33" incised on top level of back side of base.
Classification: Decorative Arts, Ceramics
Credit Line: Gift of Ann and Henry Brunnier. In the Ann and Henry Brunnier Collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Augustus the Strong of Saxony had such a tremendous passion for fine ceramics that in 1721, he commissioned the Japanese Palace to be built in Dresden and furnished with porcelain, thus beginning the shift of emphasis in the Meissen factory from painted surface to modeling. This new period of porcelain truly got underway with the appointment of Johann Joachim Käendler as head model master in 1731. Käendler’s style was very personalized with dramatic movement, strong groupings and energetic symmetry. In 1735, Käendler recruited Johann Friedrich Eberlein as his major collaborator, producing monumental sculptural works for Meissen, including the famous Swan Service made for Count Brühl, son and successor of Augustus the Strong. The partnership resulted in an era of innovative porcelain sculpture. Eberlein’s own style was largely inspired by Käendler, and it is often difficult to separate their work.
These figures are a reflection of the rococo style with a gentle meandering of form and a graceful asymmetry. Mythological figures were produced throughout the history of Meissen, largely influenced by the widespread popularity of classical engravings. Favorite subjects included Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and war, and Apollo, god of sunlight, prophecy, music and poetry. Visual clues to each deity’s identity include the horned owl looking up from Minerva’s side and harp placidly strummed by Apollo. Made by Eberlein between 1741 and 1747 as part of a series largely based on mythology, these figures are excellent examples of sculpted hard paste porcelain.