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Albert Ernest Carrier-Belleuse

Hebe and the Eagle of Jupiter


Albert Ernest Carrier-Belleuse
Anizy-le-Château, France, 1824 – Sèvres 1887


Hebe and the Eagle of Jupiter




Chased and silvered bronze


69 x 32 x 27 cm (with base)


Purchase, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' Volunteer Association Fund, inv. 2002.10.1-2


Western Art

In classical mythology, Hebe, the personification of youth and also cupbearer to the gods. She is the daughter of Juno and Jupiter (here changed into an eagle). Seated between his wings, she is holding the oinochoe (wine pitcher) in one arm while with her free hand she gracefully offers him divine nectar. Carrier-Belleuse was a prolific artist and one of France’s leading sculptor-decorators. The spiral in the composition of this piece, half sculpture and half goldsmith’s work, testifies to the contemporary taste for Renaissance art and especially for the work of Cellini and his graceful long-necked beauties with skilfully braided hair. On the other hand, the draperies here are more neo-Baroque and the wine pitcher is antique in style. The historical references are interwoven in a very Second Empire style. The chasing work here is of outstanding quality. Its surfaces, sometimes like shot silk, sometimes rough, reinforce the contrast between the supple young limbs of the goddess and the massive, powerful body of the eagle.

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