Empire chandelier with flying Mercury.
Paris, early 19th century.
Dimensions : Height 120 cm ; Diameter 80 cm.
Empire chandelier with twelve arms of light. Bronze with black patina and gilt bronze. Bronze with brown patina for Mercury.
At its centre is a Mercury inspired by the one invented by Jean Bologne in Florence in the mid-16th century. A bronze dating from 1563 is kept at the Bargello Museum in Florence. Here, the movement is reversed, as Mercury raises his left arm and displays his attribute of God of Commerce, the purse. His right arm holds the caduceus, the attribute of his Greek equivalent, Hermes. The confrontation of the two snakes symbolises the overcoming of antagonisms.
The ornamental repertoire of the Empire period consists of laurel wreaths adorned with palmettes on the tympanum. Gilded rosettes linking the chains to the tympanum. Acanthus leaves adorn the light arms and the base of the chandelier. At its centre, a large gilded pinecone is surrounded by swirling acanthus leaves with a black patina.