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Jean-Désiré Ringel d'Illzach (French, 1847 - 1916)
Belgium (Place Created)
Bronze and copper
273 × 103 cm, 493.06 kg (107 1/2 × 40 9/16 in., 1087 lb.)
This monumental bronze vase was first exhibited at the Exposition Universelle (World's Fair) in Paris in 1889. Its surfaces teem with applied life casts of spiders, a juniper branch, peacock feathers, lace, ribbons, and snails. This fantastical imagery is reminiscent of the art of contemporary Symbolist artists, who were preoccupied by visionary themes. Its scale is also consistent with other virtuoso works of art during the last decades of the 1800s. Yet its overall form and twisted, fluted handles are directly based on an ancient Roman volute krater (mixing vessel) from Pompeii that the sculptor drew during a visit to the archaeological museum in Naples in 1877.