A striking patinated bronze bust depicting a young woman, wearing a headband with her long flowing hair. The bronze has wonderful green and brown patination colours contrasting the red marble base. With very fine hand chased surface detail. Signed E Villanis, stamped and numbered
Height: 23 cm
Width: 12 cm
Depth: 9 cm
Condition: Excellent Original Condition
Book Ref: Emmanuel Villanis by Josje Hortulanus-de Mik
Page No: 32
Synaposis - A great terrace in the Palace of Herod, set above the banqueting hall. Some soldiers are leaning over the balcony. To the right there is a gigantic staircase, to the left, at the back, an old cistern surrounded by a wall of green bronze. The moon is shining very brightly.
Narraboth gazes from a terrace in Herod's palace into the banquet hall at the beautiful Princess Salome; he is in love with her, and apotheosizes her, much to the disgusted fearfulness of the Page of Herodias. The voice of the Prophet Jochanaan is heard from his prison in the palace cistern; Herod fears him and has ordered that no one should contact him, including Jerusalem's High Priest.
Tired of the feast and its guests, Salome flees to the terrace. When she hears Jochanaan cursing her mother (Herodias), Salome's curiosity is piqued. The palace guards will not honor her petulant orders to fetch Jochanaan for her, so she teasingly works on Narraboth to bring Jochanaan before her. Despite the orders he has received from Herod, Narraboth finally gives in after she promises to smile at him.
Jochanaan emerges from the cistern and shouts prophecies regarding Herod and Herodias that no one understands, except Salome when the Prophet refers to her mother. Upon seeing Jochanaan, Salome is filled with an overwhelming desire for him, praising his white skin and asking to touch it, but he rejects her. She then praises his black hair, again asking to touch it, but is rejected once more. She finally begs for a kiss from Jochanaan's lips, and Narraboth, who cannot bear to hear this, kills himself. As Jochanaan is returned to the well, he preaches salvation through the Messiah.
Herod enters, followed by his wife and court. He slips in Narraboth's blood and starts hallucinating. He hears the beating of wings. Despite Herodias' objections, Herod stares lustfully at Salome, who rejects him. Jochanaan harasses Herodias from the well, calling her incestuous marriage to Herod sinful. She demands that Herod silence him. Herod refuses, and she mocks his fear. Five Jews argue concerning the nature of God. Two Nazarenes tell of Christ's miracles; at one point they bring up the raising of Jairus' daughter from the dead, which Herod finds frightening.
Herod asks for Salome to eat with him, drink with him; indolently, she twice refuses, saying she is not hungry or thirsty. Herod then begs Salome to dance for him, Tanz für mich, Salome, though her mother objects. He promises to reward her with her heart's desire—even if it were one half of his kingdom.
Salome now declares her love for the severed head, caressing it and kissing the prophet's dead lips passionately. Horrified, Herod orders his soldiers, "Kill that woman!" They rush forward and crush Salome under their shields.
Emmanuel Villanis was an industrious man. He is believed to have created some 200 to 250 pieces. His oeuvre pre-eminently consisted of busts and full body statues. Most of these were manufactured in bronze, but there are also models in white metal and terra cotta. Different patinas were used. The bronzes were mainly cast by the Societé de Bronzes de Paris and can be recognised by the round stamp (cachet) at the back of the statue. In addition, reliefs, vases, lamps, clocks and ink stands are recorded . Vases and lamps were mostly made of tin, and there are also marble statues. Pieces in which ivory is used are as rare as silver statues.
Villanis was inspired by women. He dedicated almost his complete works to them. One model in particular was portrayed many times by him. His portrayals of children may be less known, but are nevertheless wonderfully done. His statues are always in perfect proportion and are full of expression: dreamy-eyed, happy, sirene, indifferent, cheeky, serious, sad, detached, melancholy.
His style can always be recognised by his use of hollowed out eyeballs. The name of the statue can usually be found on the base in scrolled script and the signature of Emmanuel Villanis is always visible and legible.
To view more sculptures by Emmanuel Villanis please click here.