Overdoor (France), 1800–1810
This firescreen or overdoor panel in the neoclassical style illustrates the Triumph of Venus, showing Venus, the Roman goddess of love and fertility, seated in a shell chariot being pulled to land by two dolphins. She is wearing a crown of myrtle and holding a bouquet of cattails. Her son, Cupid, heralds her approach with a horn. Many of these attributes appear in the famous Botticelli painting, The Birth of Venus (ca. 1485).
The panel is printed to simulate a sculpture or cameo carved in marble or ivory, with tan, ocher, and orange highlights. The orange pops against the blue background and makes the moldings, costumes, and dolphin details appear as gold reflecting the sun.
These panels were frequently used for two very different purposes. One use was as a firescreen or fireboard; the paper would be mounted onto a vertical framework and placed inside the hearth in the summer months to fill the dark void with an ornamented panel. The panels were also used to fill the void over doors, helping carry the wall treatment up to the ceiling.
This object was
Calvin S. Hathaway.
It is credited
Gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt.
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Its dimensions are
H x W x D: 64 x 99 cm (25 3/16 x 39 in.)
Cite this object as
Overdoor (France), 1800–1810; block-printed on handmade paper; H x W x D: 64 x 99 cm (25 3/16 x 39 in.); Gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt; 1931-45-76