A Very Fine and Impressive 19th/20th Century Life-Size White Marble and Gilt-Bronze Bust of a Young Iris, Attributed to Henri Weigele (French, 1858-1927). The beautifully carved and sensual marble bust of a young Iris, which in Greek mythology is the personification of the rainbow and messenger of the gods, posing with a direct gaze and curly hair, her dress is depicted in gilt-bronze. Raised on a contemporary veined-grey marble pedestal. Circa: Paris, 1890-1900.
Height: 33 5/8 inches (83.8 cm)
Width: 23 inches (58.5 cm)
Depth: 15 inches (38.1 cm)
Plinth Base: 9 1/4 x 9 1/4 inches (23.5 cm)
Pedestal Height: 35 inches (88.9 cm)
Pedestal Width: 19 1/2 inches 49.5 cm)
Pedestal Depth: 19 1/2 inches 49.5 cm)
Overall Height: 68 5/8 inches (174.3 cm)
Henri Weigele was born on September 20th, 1858, he studied sculpture in Paris under Jules Franceschi. Weigele specialized in the combination of marble and gilt bronze to produce dramatic color effects which he often used for his mythological busts such as this depiction of Iris.
One of Weigele's most known works is the depiction of Diana, one the twelve Gods of Olympus, Apollo's twin sister, which became known as Luna, the moon goddess. In Weigele's depiction of Diana, he also used the combination of marble and gilt bronze for same dramatic effect as on the present bust. One of these busts of Diana by Weigele was sold at Christie's New York Nineteenth Century European Art on May 1, 2000, Sale 9346, Lot 57 for $127,000
Weigele's highest auction record was a marble group of "Deux Femmes Dansant" (Two Women Dancing) Circa: 1914 which was sold at Sotheby's New York "La Belle Epoque Paintings & Sculpture, on May 24, 1995, Sale 6711 BE, Lot 277 for $260,000
Le Musée d'Orsay, Paris France has a collection of several sculptures by Henri Weigele (French, 1858-1927), including a bust of Diane, Deux Femmes Dansant, Marie-Antoinette, Amour Endormi, Musique, a bust of Nuit and A bust and sculptures of Hippolyte-Alfred Chauchard.
A marble and gilt-bronze bust of "Athénienne" the goddess of wisdom, courage and inspiration by Henri Weigele (French, 1858-1927) is currently part of the collection at the Walker Art Gallery Museum in Liverpool, UK
About The Goddess Iris
In Greek mythology, Iris is the personification of the rainbow and messenger of the gods. She is also known as one of the goddesses of the sea and the sky. Iris links the gods to humanity. She travels with the speed of wind from one end of the world to the other, and into the depths of the sea and the underworld.
Iris in Myths
According to Hesiod's Theogony, Iris is the daughter of Thaumas and the cloud nymph Electra. Her sisters are Arke and the Harpies; Aello, Celaeno, and Ocypete.
Iris is frequently mentioned as a divine messenger in the Iliad which is attributed to Homer, but does not appear in his Odyssey, where Hermes fills that role. Like Hermes, Iris carries a caduceus or winged staff. By command of Zeus, the king of the gods, she carries an ewer of water from the River Styx, with which she puts to sleep all who perjure themselves. According to Apollonius Rhodius, Iris turned back the Argonauts Zetes and Calais who had pursued the Harpies to the Strophades ('Islands of Turning'). The brothers had driven off the monsters from their torment of the prophet Phineus, but did not kill them upon the request of Iris, who promised that Phineus would not be bothered by the Harpies again.
Iris is married to Zephyrus, who is the god of the west wind. Their son is Pothos (Nonnus, Dionysiaca). According to the Dionysiaca of Nonnos, Iris' brother is Hydaspes (book XXVI, lines 355-365).
In Euripides' play Heracles, Iris appears alongside Lyssa, cursing Heracles with the fit of madness in which he kills his three sons and his wife Megara. In some records she is a sororal twin to the Titaness Arke (arch), who flew out of the company of Olympian gods to join the Titans as their messenger goddess during the Titanomachy, making the two sisters enemy messenger goddesses. Iris was said to have golden wings, whereas Arke had iridescent ones. She is also said to travel on the rainbow while carrying messages from the gods to mortals. During the Titan War, Zeus tore Arke's iridescent wings from her and gave them as a gift to the Nereid Thetis at her wedding, who in turn gave them to her son, Achilles, who wore them on his feet. Achilles was sometimes known as podarkes (feet like [the wings of] Arke.) Podarces was also the original name of Priam, king of Troy.
Iris also appears several times in Virgil's Aeneid, usually as an agent of Juno. In Book 4, Juno dispatches her to pluck a lock of hair from the head of Queen Dido, that she may die and enter Hades. In book 5, Iris, having taken on the form of a Trojan woman, stirs up the other Trojan mothers to set fire to four of Aeneas' ships in order to prevent them from leaving Sicily.
Iris had numerous poetic titles and epithets, including Chrysopteron (Golden Winged), Podas ôkea (swift footed) or Podênemos ôkea (wind-swift footed), Roscida (dewey), and Thaumantias or Thaumantos (Daughter of Thaumas, Wondrous One). Under the epithet Aellopus (Ἀελλόπους) she was described as swift-footed like a storm-wind. She also watered the clouds with her pitcher, obtaining the water from the sea.
Iris is represented either as a rainbow, or as a young maiden with wings on her shoulders. As a goddess, Iris is associated with communication, messages, the rainbow and new endeavors.