Art historian, The Museum of Applied Art, Belgrade
PORFIRNE VAZE KRALJEVSKOG DVORA NA DEDINJU
PORPHYRY VASES OF THE ROYAL PALACE ON DEDINJE
Journal 8/2012 (Museum of Applied Art), pages 45-54
Abstract (original language):
Rad predstavlja analizu malo poznatih umetničkih artefakata iz kolekcije Dvorskog kompleksa na Dedinju. Reč je o paru porfirnih vaza, neoklasičnog stila sa ukrasima od pozlaćene bronze. Na osnovu identičnih predmeta poznatih svetskoj javnosti, stilske analize, sačuvane dokumentacije i objavljenih ra
Key words: (original language)
Aleksandar I Karađorđević, Enmond Aleksandar Petito, Kraljevski dvor na Dedinju, porfirne vaze
A pair of identical porphyry vases from the Royal Palace is a part of the art collection of the Palace Complex of Dedinje. Namely, they are pieces of art designed by the royal architect E. A. Petitot (1727-1801) at the Royal Palace of Philip I, The Duke of Parma (1748-1765). The research conducted up to the present date, as well as the published papers, point out the existence of three more pairs of identically shaped vases made in the last quarter of the 18th century, one of which can at present be found in the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and the other two in private collections, whereas the vases of the royal collection have not been accessible to the public for a long time.
The vases are the finest examples of the Neoclassical style of French applied art, the signature mark of the most prosperous part of the reign of Louis XV. Identical in size, material and modeling, they were made in the shape of a cup on a base, encrusted with gilded drapes, with cast iron handles in the shape of lions. Gilded leaves with the bodies of two snakes coiled around make the base of the vase core.
The powerful sculptoral decoration of the vases emphasizes exactly their complex symbolism. Thus, the figures of lions glorify the profane and sacral power of the sovereign, pointing out as well the constant alertness of the guardians of his power and strength. As the symbols of the beginning and the end, the eternal cycle of birth and death, the representation of snakes coiled around the foot may be interpreted in the sense of the transient nature of time and destiny as well as the sovereign's power that can overcome everything.
Judging by their artistic modeling and sculptural decoration, it is assumed that the porphyry vases were ordered by an aristocrat, or were a part of the decorating concept of a royal palace space. Porphyry as a symbol of the sovereign's dignity – decorated with figural representations, symbols of the sovereign's power and strength and their everlasting nature – is a piece of art which could have been created in the framework of the politics of the sovereign's presentation.
As such, the vases represent highly valuable pieces of art and they certainly held a significant place within the framework of the politics of the Yugoslav monarch's presentation.
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