The Bee Goddess of Eleutherna

Gold Pendant with the representation of a Bee Goddess, On the upper torso she is depicted as a female with a Daedalic wig and arms bent at the elbows. The rest of the body resembles an insect, its large wings decorated with stippled rosettes, 7th century BC, Archaeological Museum of Eleutherna, Crete, Greece
https://mae.uoc.gr/exhibits/

On the 20th of May… Let’s celebrate World Bee Day! Let’s observe the importance of the 25,000 to 30,000 species of bees as effective pollinators. According to the United Nations pollinators allow many plants, including many food crops, to reproduce. Indeed, the food that we eat, such as fruits and vegetables, directly relies on pollinators. A world without pollinators would equal a world without food diversity – no blueberries, coffee, chocolate, cucumbers and so much more. The ancient Greeks understood the importance of pollination and revered Bees as the “Divine Queens” of their ecosystem. The 7th century BC Gold Pendant with the representation of a Bee Goddess from Eleutherna in Crete is proof enough! https://www.un.org/en/observances/bee-day/background

The so-called Dark Ages of Greece, when the Eleutherna Gold Pendant with the representation of a Bee Goddess was created, were not dark at all! They were years of adjustment to a new reality, the aftermath years of the Homeric Epos, the years of the naissance of the great Greek art of antiquity. The small Bee Goddess of Eleutherna, a wonderful amalgam of old, and current Cretan traditions, is persuasive in its purpose and beautiful in its artistry. Whoever the pendant’s artist was, he was familiar with the Minoan past of female divine potency and the Homeric, rich literary tradition of metaphors relating the bee to human society. Let’s not forget how Homer (8th cent. BC) compares the Achaean warriors leaving the ships to attend an assembly to a swarm of bees leaving their hive in search of flowers:     From the camp the troops were turning / out now, thick as bees that issue from some / crevice in a rock face, endlessly pouring / forth, to make a cluster and swarm on / blooms of summer here and there, glinting / and droning, busy in bright air.     /     Like bees innumerable from ships and huts / down the deep foreshore streamed those / regiments toward the assembly ground. (Iliad II 86-93, trans. Robert Fitzgerald) https://www.apiservices.biz/documents/articles-en/beekeeping_in_mediterranean.pdf

The small Bee Goddess pendant was discovered in the necropolis of Orthi Petra in Crete and inspired Professor Νikolaos Stampolidis to use it as the logo of the Museum of ancient Eleutherna. This amazing ornament is a composite creation: it shows the bust of a woman, with arms folded over the chest, and the lower body of a bee, with large wings, adorned with dotted flowers. https://www.lamdadev.com/en/the-company/corporate-social-responsibility/culture/commemorative-volume-eleutherna.html?os_image_id-34

Gold Pendant with the representation of a Bee Goddess, 7th century BC, Archaeological Museum of Eleutherna, Crete, Greece
https://gr.pinterest.com/pin/343540277802257776/ and https://www.pinterest.de/pin/91409067412568201/

The city of Eleutherna, on the island of Crete, was of great importance in prehistoric times and continued to be so from the dawn of Hellenic Civilization to the Byzantine era. Systematic excavations organized by the University of Crete under the directorship of Professors Petros Themelis, Athanasios Kalpaxis, and Nikos Stampolidis since 2009, brought to light three sectors of the city and the necropolis at Orthi Petra, enhancing our knowledge of the political, economic, social, religious, and artistic history of the whole of Crete, particularly during the so-called “Dark Ages.” Eleutherna, close to Mount Ida, where the Νεφεληγερέτης (Cloud Gatherer) Zeus was safely born, raised with milk and honey, and protected by the Kourites warriors, is a city that eloquently bespeaks the continuity of the island’s prosperity and its seminal contribution to the genesis of Hellenic civilization. Discover its importance with the help of ELEUTHERA, by Nikolaos Chr. Stanmpolidis, LAMDA DEVELOPMENT, 2020. https://www.latsis-foundation.org/content/elib/book_29/eleytherna-english-l.pdf and https://www.latsis-foundation.org/content/elib/book_29/eleytherna-greek-f.pdf

For a Student Activity inspired by the 7th century BC Gold Pendant with the representation of a Bee Goddess from Eleutherna in Crete, please… Check HERE!

Byzantine-Style Mosaic Necklace with Christ and Twelve Apostles

Unidentified Artist from Murano, Venice? 
Byzantine-Style Mosaic Necklace with Christ and Twelve Apostles, the 1870s-1910s, gold with glass and shell inlay, Smithsonian American Art Museum, USA
https://americanart.si.edu/artwork/byzantine-style-mosaic-necklace-christ-and-twelve-apostles-30961

Sargent, Whistler, and Venetian Glass: American Artists and the Magic of Murano(October 8, 2021 – May 8, 2022, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC, USA) brings to life the Venetian glass revival of the late nineteenth century and the artistic experimentation the city inspired for visiting artists. It is the first comprehensive examination of American tourism, artmaking, and art collecting in Venice, revealing the glass furnaces and their new creative boom as a vibrant facet of the city’s allure… write the Smithsonian American Art Museum experts, and I was “hooked” to virtually explore this amazing Exhibition. I was particularly intrigued by the reference to the Magic of Murano, and the age-old Venetian industry of glassmaking. Exploring the artworks exhibited, I came upon a Byzantine-Style Mosaic Necklace with Christ and Twelve Apostles in the Smithsonian Collection, and I was determined to learn more about it! Well, I learned more… and less… https://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/sargent-whistler-glass and https://s3.amazonaws.com/assets.saam.media/files/documents/2021-09/SWAVG%20checklist_FINAL.pdf

Exhibition Sargent, Whistler, and Venetian Glass: American Artists and the Magic of Murano Installation Photography, Courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2021, Photo Credit: Albert Ting https://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/sargent-whistler-glass

Back in 1929, the Byzantine-Style Necklace was part of an impressive donation to the Smithsonian’s “National Gallery of Art” (now SAAM), by the art collector John Gellatly. Originally, it was thought to be a piece of 6th century Byzantine Jewelry, but contemporary conservators believe it’s more likely a nineteenth-century imitation or forgery.  

The necklace consists of 15 medallions presenting Christ in the middle (the biggest in size), the Twelve Apostles (receding, slightly, in size, six on either side of Christ), and medallions with Constantine’s Cross (the smallest two of the fifteen), at the two ends of the necklace. The necklace medallions are connected with gold chains of hollow wire! The rims of each medallion are decorated with hundreds of small gold balls, applied in a technique called granulation… a technique invented in the ancient world… declined in popularity after the first century BC, and was revived by the Castellani jewelry firm in the mid-19th century. Could the use of granulation make scholars begin to question the necklace’s Byzantine attribution?

Unidentified Artist from Murano, Venice? 
Byzantine-Style Mosaic Necklace with Christ and Twelve Apostles (detail), the 1870s-1910s, gold with glass and shell inlay, Smithsonian American Art Museum, USA
https://americanart.si.edu/artwork/byzantine-style-mosaic-necklace-christ-and-twelve-apostles-30961

Apparently, the conservator’s examination brought up more questions than answers, and as the Pietre Dure technique was popular in Florence, they jokingly question if the Smithsonian necklace was created by an itinerant nineteenth-century Florentine Pietre Dure stone craftsperson who moved to Venice to restore the San Marco mosaics and was commissioned by a wealthy patron to make a Byzantine-style necklace… One can only wonder!

Unidentified Artist from Murano, Venice? 
Byzantine-Style Mosaic Necklace with Christ and Twelve Apostles (Detail), the 1870s-1910s, gold with glass and shell inlay, Smithsonian American Art Museum, USA
https://americanart.si.edu/blog/byzantine-art-mystery

Information on my presentation of the Necklace comes from the December 8, 2021article The Mystery Around a Byzantine-style Necklace – When SAAM’s “Art Doctors” Become Art Detectives by Ariel O’Connor and Sarah Montonchaikul… https://americanart.si.edu/blog/byzantine-art-mystery

For a Student Activity, please… Check HERE!

The Shropshire Gold “Sun” Bulla-Pendant


The Shropshire Gold “Sun” Bulla-Pendant, 1,000-800 BC, Gold, 3.6×4.7cm, British Museum, London, UK
Photo Credit: British Museum
https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2020/mar/04/british-museum-acquires-3000-year-old-shropshire-sun-pendant

Towering above the Wiltshire countryside, Stonehenge is perhaps the world’s most awe-inspiring ancient stone circle… write the British Museum experts introducing The World of Stonehenge an important Exhibition that will reveal the secrets of Stonehenge, shining a light on its purpose, cultural power, and the people that created it. The Exhibition (February 17 to July 17, 2022) follows, the British Museum experts continue, the story of Britain and Europe from 4000 to 1000 BC… a period of immense transformation and radical ideas that changed society forever. Visitors will be able to admire and learn from a variety of fascinating objects among them astonishing examples of early metalwork including the Nebra Sky Disc – the world’s oldest surviving map of the stars and the Shropshire Gold “Sun” Bulla-Pendant, I find particularly “beautiful.” https://www.britishmuseum.org/exhibitions/world-stonehenge

The Shropshire Gold “Sun” Bulla-Pendant is a breathtaking object! All we need do is imagine the impact this object would have had on the viewer worn in bright daylight, or in flickering firelight…  It definitely would have seemed as if it was constantly moving. https://archaeology.co.uk/articles/features/the-shropshire-bulla-bronze-age-beauty-and-a-mystery-from-manchester.htm

The Shropshire Gold “Sun” Bulla-Pendant, 1,000-800 BC, Gold, 3.6×4.7cm, British Museum, London, UK
Photo Credit: British Museum
https://museumcrush.org/spectacular-bronze-age-sun-pendant-heads-to-shrewsbury-museum/

Buried for centuries in the Shropshire Marches, the breathtaking pendant was discovered in May 2018, by an anonymous metal detector (detectorist). It is interesting how the Shropshire Finds Liaison Officer Peter Reavill who had worked with the detectorist in question for 15 years, regularly recording his finds, describes the initial telephone he received, and how he knew that something out of the ordinary had happened when the detectorist was almost too excited to speak. Soon after the discovery, photographs followed, and Peter Reavill found himself looking at a D-shaped gold pendant incised with delicate geometric decorations. Interestingly, and following the UK Treasure Act 1995, the discovered pendant was brought to the British Museum and the coroner (who adjudicates in Treasure cases) found the Shropshire Gold “Sun” Pendant to be Treasure and the independent Treasure Valuation Committee recommended the £250,000 price tag. In the words of the British Museum Neil Wilkin, curator of Early Europe and The World of Stonehenge Exhibitions… The elegant form and brilliantly executed decoration of the sun pendant was accomplished with an ingenious skill. It tells us how important the sun – and its path through the sky during the course of the day and the year – was to people’s beliefs during this period.”https://archaeology.co.uk/articles/features/the-shropshire-bulla-bronze-age-beauty-and-a-mystery-from-manchester.htm and https://www.antiquestradegazette.com/news/2020/british-museum-buys-3000-year-old-bronze-age-gold-pendant/

Before visiting The World of Stonehenge Exhibitions, and if interested in the Shropshire Pendant… read, if you please, https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/H_2020-8005-1 and https://www.britishmuseum.org/sites/default/files/2021-07/sun_pendant_press_release_updated.pdf

A short PowerPoint presentation can be accessed… HERE!

Byzantine Girdle

Marriage Belt, 6th-7th century, Gold, 4.8×75.5 cm, Byzantine Collection, Dumbarton Oaks Museum, Washington DC, USA
https://www.doaks.org/resources/bliss-tyler-correspondence/art/bz/BZ.1937.33.jpg/view

That which her slender waist confin’d, / Shall now my joyful temples bind; / No monarch but would give his crown, / His arms might do what this has done.     /     It was my heaven’s extremest sphere, / The pale which held that lovely deer, / My joy, my grief, my hope, my love, / Did all within this circle move.     /     A narrow compass, and yet there / Dwelt all that’s good, and all that’s fair; / Give me but what this ribbon bound, / Take all the rest the sun goes round… wrote Edmund Waller, back in the 17th century… and I imagine another slender waist confin’d  by a Byzantine Girdle, masterfully created back in the 6th or the 7th century… https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45437/on-a-girdle

The Gold Byzantine Marriage Belt at Dumbarton Oaks is small, but lo and behold, it’s luxurious and precious, unique, and ever so beautiful! It combines Christian and pagan iconography… two large medallions depicting Jesus uniting a young couple as they clasp each other’s right hand, in a gesture, known as the dextrarum iunctio, that had been part of the Roman marriage rite, and twenty-one small medallions that contain busts of pagan figures: all men, some draped, several bearded, others with leaves in their hair, a few holding the thyrsos—a staff associated with Dionysos—and some a caduceus, the rod of the god Hermes/Mercury. Framing the central, Marriage scene, is the inscription, “From God, concord, grace, health.” http://museum.doaks.org/objects-1/info/27445

Marriage Belt (detail), 6th-7th century, Gold, 4.8×75.5 cm, Byzantine Collection, Dumbarton Oaks Museum, Washington DC, USA
http://museum.doaks.org/objects-1/info/27445

The fascinating aspect of the Dumbarton Oaks marriage belt is how the artist combined the “sacred with the profane…” Jesus blessing the young couple, with Dionysus and his male entourage. The combination of Pagan and Christian traditions in early Byzantine marriage art is captivating. The presence of Christ uniting the young couple in the larger, central two disks was apparently a popular practice in wedding belts and marriage rings. There is a similar second belt at the Musée du Louvre in Paris, and numerous variations on marriage rings to testify to the fact. What the Dumbarton Oaks experts find challenging is the integration of non-Christian figures with the Christian scenes. https://collections.louvre.fr/en/ark:/53355/cl010256506 and http://museum.doaks.org/objects-1/info/27445

Marriage Belt (detail), 6th-7th century, Gold, 4.8×75.5 cm, Byzantine Collection, Dumbarton Oaks Museum, Washington DC, USA
http://museum.doaks.org/objects-1/info/27445

It is also interesting to read the actual Epithalamic Poem by Dioscorus of Aphrodito dedicated to Count Callinicus… τον περίβλεπτον κόμετα Καλλίνικον… Bridegroom, may your wedding be filled with the dancing of the Graces; may it ever seek the help of Wisdom after Beauty. You are marrying a bride who is an enviable Ariadne, silver-sandaled Theophile wreathed in gold. (May your marriage) have the scent at once of love and of wisdom. Gold has embraced gold, and silver has found silver. You raise up the honey-sweet grape cluster, in its bloom of youth; Dionysus attends the summer of your wedding, bearing wine, love’s adornment, with plenty for all, and blonde Demeter brings the flower of the field. . . . They have woven holy wreaths round your rose-filled bedroom. Like splendid Menelaus, but more tawny colored, follow your Helen, a wife who will not leave you. And afterwards you shall see dear children on your lap, like both your excellence and your wife’s to look upon. I wish a famous painter would accurately depict your lifelike image, with his craft to work your beloved likeness, whose bright beams flash with joy like the moon. Your young body has surpassed prize-winning Bellerophon, and your beauty is that of measureless excellence. To judge impartially, you have outdone Achilles and Diomedes, and easily outstripped Ares and brave Herakles. Be gracious to me in my awe of you, so I may sing your song: I came sailing on my voyage, inspired by your measureless excellence. Not in a worldly sense . . . https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=ft0m3nb0cs;chunk.id=d0e3949;doc.view=print -88-

If you are interested in discovering how the Dumbarton Oaks Marriage Belt ended in the renowned Washington DC Museum, please click HERE! and read the correspondence between Mildred and Robert Bliss and Royall Tyler between September 1937 and August 1938. It is a fascinating story… https://www.doaks.org/resources/bliss-tyler-correspondence/letters#b_start=0&c1=Marriage+Belt

Hellenistic Golden Hairnets

Gold Hairnet with a relief bust of  Athena from Thessaly (Detail), 2nd century BC, gold, Diam. 0.111 m, Benaki Museum, Athens Photo Credit: https://mobile.twitter.com/tzoumio/status/1413408320489144320

Amarantha sweet and fair / Ah braid no more that shining hair! / As my curious hand or eye / Hovering round thee let it fly.    /    Let it fly as unconfin’d / As its calm ravisher, the wind, / Who hath left his darling th’East, / To wanton o’er that spicy nest.    /    Ev’ry tress must be confest / But neatly tangled at the best; / Like a clue of golden thread, / Most excellently ravelled.    /    Do not then wind up that light / In ribands, and o’er-cloud in night; / Like the sun in’s early ray, / But shake your head and scatter day… wrote Richard Lovelace, back in the 17th century… no Hellenistic Golden Hairnets for… Amarantha sweet and fair! https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/richard-lovelace

Gold Hairnet with a relief bust of  Athena from Thessaly, 2nd century BC, gold, Diam. 0.111 m, Benaki Museum, Athens Greece
Photo Credit: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/642596 

The visitors of the Ancient Greeks: Science and Wisdom Exhibition in the Science Museum (London, 17 November 2021 – 05 June 2022) will be able to admire a rare, Hellenistic Golden Hairnet from the Benaki Museum in Athens and marvel at its amazing beauty and craftsmanship! This is a real treat as only a handful of such Golden Hairnets survive today scattered around major Museums around the world. https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/see-and-do/ancient-greeks-science-and-wisdom

The Exhibited Hairnet comes to London from Greece, and specifically, the Benaki Museum in Athens. Gold Hairnets were created by exceptional goldsmiths for aristocratic, well-to-do Greek ladies of the Hellenistic period (late 4th to early 1st cent. BC), to contain a simple hair chignon at the back of their head. The Benaki Hairnet consists of a central gold medallion with a bust of Athena in high relief, and an intricate, gold net. Goddess Athena is depicted wearing a helmet with three plumes, a laurel wreath, and an oblique aegis with a mermaid. The bust of Athena is framed by concentric bands adorned with ornaments applied in the jeweler’s fine technique of filigree and granulation. The lavish decoration is mostly floral consisting of a wreath of beautifully executed pointed leaves, an exquisite, and complex band of floral designs, and a strip of eggs and tiny rosettes. The central medallion was further embellished with enameling and minuscule beads of garnet. The gold net around the medallion consists of a lattice of chains with intersecting points articulated with tiny rosettes. What an amazing achievement of workmanship! https://www.benaki.org/index.php?option=com_buildings&view=building&id=11&Itemid=533&lang=en and https://www.benaki.org/index.php?option=com_collectionitems&view=collectionitem&id=140287&lang=en&lang=el and https://ellaniapili.blogspot.com/2015/11/blog-post_328.html

Gold Hairnet with repousse bust of  Athena from Thessaly, 2nd century BC, gold, Diam. 0.111 m, Benaki Museum, Athens Greece
Photo Credit: https://www.myfaveplaces.com/contemp-galleries/2016/7/6/gold-gold-gold-plus-some-bronze-and-silver

Describing the Benaki Museum Medallion Berta Segall writes… The artist of the Benaki medallion wanted to achieve unity. The elements of the ornamental frame are part of a continuous, flowing design, the bust, by taking up as much as possible of the background and touching the border, gives the impression of a full length figure cut off by a wreath. Its modeling is an example of the “impressionistic” technique in relief which uses a soft, almost imperceptible gradation of planes from the high to the very low, and from there to engraving. Thus, the folds of the garment are indicated in low relief, and even shallower, almost disappearing into the background, are the two plumes of the helmet right and left of the face. Berta Segall, Two Hellenistic Gold Medallions from Thessaly, Record of the Museum of Historic Art, Princeton University, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Autumn, 1945), pp. 2-11 https://www.jstor.org/stable/3774132?seq=3#metadata_info_tab_contents

The Benaki Museum Hairnet was part of an unbelievable “treasure” of 44 pieces of jewelry sold to private collectors in Athens, in 1929. The “treasure,” a product of illegal excavations, came from Thessaly, and the exact circumstances of their discovery are not well established. According to one testimony, they were discovered inside a copper vessel near Almyros in Magnesia, according to a source, the “treasure” came from the area of ​​Lamia-Lianokladi. It has also been claimed that the 44 pieces of exquisite jewelry were found in Domokos, while the antique dealer, who sold 35 pieces of jewelry to the collector Eleni Stathatou (today in the Stathatos Collection in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens) and 9 to the Benaki Museum, assured that they were discovered near Karpenisi. https://ellaniapili.blogspot.com/2015/11/blog-post_328.html

For a PowerPoint on Hellenistic Golden Hairnets, please… check HERE!

Gold Hairnet with repousse bust of  Athena from Thessaly, 2nd century BC, gold, Diam. 0.111 m, Benaki Museum, Athens Greece
Photo Credit: https://twitter.com/AngHellenLeague/status/1464252708806873091/photo/1

The Science Museum in London promises a unique experience to the visitors of their free exhibition Ancient Greeks: Science and Wisdom (17 November 2021 – 05 June 2022). The Museum experts believe that curiosity and investigation are central to furthering our understanding of the universe today… and suggest that we step back through millennia… and discover how the ancient Greek civilization questioned, contemplated, and debated the natural world. If your steps take you to London, the Science Museum Exhibition Ancient Greeks: Science and Wisdom, is worth visiting! https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/see-and-do/ancient-greeks-science-and-wisdom and https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/guides for a free guidebook.

Aelia Galla Placidia

Velp treasure Medallion of Galla Placidia, c. 425, gold, 5 cm in diameter, Département des Monnaies, Médailles et Antiques de la Bibliothèque Nationale de France
http://medaillesetantiques.bnf.fr/ws/catalogue/app/collection/record/ark:/12148/c33gbq95f

Known as the “most noble girl, the nobilissima puella” Aelia Galla Placidia is still today, revered for her family lineage, her astonishing life and her magnificent Mausoleum in Ravenna!

The Gold Medallion depicting Galla Placidia, splendidly framed and mounted as a pendant, in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, made me think. She is presented to us in profile, her hair tightly braided, wearing a tiara with three rows of pearls. She is heavily adorned with jewelry. She wears ear pendants and a necklace with more precious pearls. She is depicted as a modest, yet fashionable lady. Her peplum, fastened by a fibula adorned with yet more pearls, covers her embroidered tunic, adorned with a Chi-Rho ornament on her shoulder. What a life she had! Imperial daughter, wife, and mother…

Aelia Galla Placidia was born in Constantinople, between 388 and 392, to Emperor Theodosius I (ruled 379–395) and his second wife Flavia Galla. She grew up in Constantinople under the care of her cousin Serena, her mother died in childbirth in 394, wife of magister militum Stilicho. Serena, an educated woman and a patroness of the arts, is probably responsible for the classical education Galla Placidia received, as well as her skills in weaving and the art of embroidery. The Roman princess, summoned by her father, was in Milan, in 395, where Theodosius I died.

It seems that Placidia remained in Italy, and was in Rome, in 408, when the Visigoths of Alaric I attacked. During these turbulent years, Placidia agreed to the execution of her cousin Serena. The following years were not easy for the “nobilissima puella.” By 410, she was a captive of the Goths and taken to Gaul, where, in 414 at Narbonne, with extravagance and pomp, she was married to the Visigoth chieftain Athaulf, King of the Visigoths from 414 to 415. When Athaulf was murdered in 415, she was once more taken captive by her husband’s enemies, “treated with cruel and wanton insult.” She was apparently forced to walk more than twelve miles along with the crowd of captives, suffering with such dignity that raised opposition to her enemies, leading to the assassination of their ruler, Sigeric. The new Visigoth leader was Wallia, Ataulf’s relative, and her supporter.

Ιn 416, Galla Placidia was finally returned to the Romans and soon after, her half-brother Honorius, Emperor of the West, forced her to marry the powerful Roman general Constantius. In 421, as Constantius III, Placidia’s husband became co-emperor in the West and she was proclaimed Augusta (Empress). Constantius’s death in the same year started a new set of unpleasant events for Galla Placidia. Emperor Honorius behaved towards her with “indecent familiarity,” they quarreled openly, and Placidia had no other choice than flee Ravenna with her children, seeking refuge in Constantinople with her nephew, the Eastern Emperor Theodosius II (402-450).

During the final years of her life, Galla Placidia enjoyed the political power she was familiar with. On August 15, 423, Honorius died and on October 23, 425, her son, Valentinian III, was proclaimed Emperor of the Western Roman Empire. For twelve years Placidia served as Valentinian’s regent seeking to balance the power of rival, ambitious generals and thus, protect the well-being of the Empire. Galla Placidia died in Rome on the 27th of November, 450. Her final resting place is unknown. It seems unclear whether the famous Mausoleum in Ravenna was intended for Galla Placidia’s resting place. http://www.roman-emperors.org/galla.htm

Honorius and Galla Placidia are the Protagonists in a “Poem for two Voices” student Activity inspired by the Velp Medallions. The Student Activity Worksheet is… HERE!

Reverence for Nature and Tiffany

Tiffany’s Incredible Hair Pin

Reverence for Nature and Tiffany is my latest BLOG Post. It is about an extraordinary Hair Ornament in the MET Collection portraying two Dragonflies and Dandelions. Created in 1904 for Louisine Havemeyer, a great collector of Impressionist Art and one of Tiffany’s most ardent patrons, the Metropolitan Museum Hair Pin is my favourite Art Nouveau piece of Jewelry. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/2046

When I think of Louis Comfort Tiffany, I think of nature’s power, its brittleness, yet joy. I think of radiance, luminosity and brilliance in colour. I think of superb craftsmanship… as exemplified in the MET’s Dragonfly and Dandelion Hair Ornament. According to Alice Cooney Frelinghuyse in the MET, the Hair Ornament “epitomizes his earliest jewelry designs, which were based directly on modest forms in nature, such as field flowers and wild fruit, as well as his affinity for enamelling and semiprecious stones with unusual colors. The dragonflies rest on dandelion seedballs, one of which is shown partially blown away, underscoring the fragility of nature. Highly skilled artisans conveyed the transparency of the insects’ wings through delicate metalwork filigree. The temporal quality is revealed in the subject: dragonflies rest in one place for mere seconds before flitting away; dandelions disperse into thousands of airborne seeds with the gentlest of breezes.” file:///C:/Users/aspil/Downloads/Recent_Acquisitions_A_Selection_2002_2003_The_Metropolitan_Museum_of_Art_Bulletin_v_61_no_2_Fall_2003%20(1).pdf

For a short PowerPoint on Louis Comfort Tiffany… click HERE!

A Grade 4 or 5 student Activity on Reverence for Nature and Tiffany is HERE!

https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/2002.620/