Masterpieces of Ivory from the Walters Art Gallery

Walters Art Gallery, Author Viking Penguin $75 (338p) ISBN 978-0-933920-42-2
One Egyptian ivory figurine of a hippopotamus, though less than two inches long, manages to convey the heaviness and power of the animal. Ivory is a supple medium, and each age has shaped it according to its concepts of refinement, pomp, utility and beauty. The Greeks built ivory couches as a symbol of luxury. Roman general Lucius Scipio and his men carried 1231 ivory tusks in a triumphal procession. Byzantine artisans carved lifelike ivory saints and angels on miniature altar panels. Muslim craftsmen fashioned intricate inscriptions on oliphants or hunting horns made from tusks. Among the unusual or outstanding objects reproduced in this catalouge of the Walters collection in Baltimore are a Cretan snake goddess, a Coptic statuette of the Virgin of Tenderness (the earliest known example of this image), a German Baroque statue of Cleopatra being bitten by a serpent, and an Art Nouveau orchid comb by Rene Lalique. More than 700 plates (100 in color) are accompanied by essays contriubted by various scholars who trace this highly developed art through the centuries. (April)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
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