I am going to talk about a silver chalice set designed by thearchitect Ramsay Traquair, and was made by a silversmith from Edinburgh, JMTalbot. The piece was created in 1906 using a p?ua shell, silver and moonstone.In this essay, I am going to talk about mythological stories in art, what themyths are based around and how they can be portrayed in art. I decided to pickthis object as it tells a mythological story about Cupid and Psyche on its 6enamel plaqes, I liked how each one told a different part of the story.
I likedthe style of the chalice, Art Nouveau (1890 and 1910) and also the detail onthe enamel plaques, paua shell and butterfly drops. The shell makes is a lotdifferent to any other chalice I have seen before the bright colours off theshell in particular attracted me. This chalice is one of 5 from a set that was made, but thisone I found most interesting. Phoebe was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites, shepainted murals for numerous religious organizations in Edinburgh, such as theCatholic Apostolic Church in Broughton Street.
The style of the chalice is ArtNouveau which was an art movement that was highly popular from 1890 to roughly1910. Artists working in the style Art Nouveau took the forms as they saw innature and then flattened and abstracted them, it is characterised by theflowing organic shapes that were based from nature, whiplash lines, stylisedflowers, roots, leaves and also the female form (inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites).Most artworks from this time period will revolve around the female form and willmost likely be included in all artworks taking the style of Art Nouveau. Themovement was more focused on the different lines than the colour, this is clearas most of the colour pallets used in this time were all muted greens, browns,yellows and blues. The materials used to make the chalice are silver, pauashell and moonstone.
The paua shell is the thing that attracted me most to thischalice. Paua are marine monovalve molluscs and theory coastal areas that arerocky and they can be anywhere from 70-140mm to a maximum of about 200mm. Theshell is iridescent meaning the colours in the shell change when the shell ismoved at different angles, this means the shell is highly sought after forjewellery. What makes it so special is that every shell is different, each onehas different colours and patterns from each other. There are black patterns onthe shell which comes from the layers of protein that are laid between layersof calcium that primarily make up the shell. The vivid colours come from light beingrefracted within the layers of the crystals. There are 6 enamel plaques intotal and on each one they depict scenes from the story of Cupid and Psyche.
Thefunction of the chalice seems to be more decorative than practical just lookingat the chalice I wouldn’t want to pick it up, it looks quite fragile like thestem wouldn’t be able to hold the shell if it were picked up, I looks too niceto be handled all the time. Also, the 6 enamel plagues are in the middle of thestem makes it impractical to lift, also the small butterfly’s dangling downwould make it difficult to drink from. A chalice is fundamentally just a goblet or cup that is meantto hold drink, it can be made of any material but in ancient times they weremainly made of shells and horns but in later times silver became the favouredmaterial. A chalice is used to hold blessed water and or wine during rituals.
“Achalice is a large gold or silver cup with a stem. Chalices are used to holdwine in the Christian service of Holy Communion” Over time, the size of thebowl reduced and the base became larger for improved stability. Usually achalice has a thick stem and a wide bottom so that it is easy to lift and drinkfrom, so that its more practical. Many religions have different uses for achalice for example; they were used by the early Christian church during theirrituals, primarily to obtain the symbolic Blood of Christ during Mass.People begun to express stories through art as a way ofcommunication to people that are unable to read.
It was uncommon for childrenof the general public to attend school. Lots of religious paintings toldstories from the bible so that it would help people to understand thecharacters in the stories (the bible) when they were at church. There are severalways in which stories and myths can be expressed through art, the story ofCupid and Psyche series tells their story through a series of 5 tapestries. Differentmyths can be portrayed in various ways, sculpture and painting are the mostpopular ways of doing this. Different mythologies have different stories behindthem. Classical mythology is a term that shows that the myths belong to Greekand Roman myths. These myths are have been believed to have been first heardorally, the Greek word “mythos” meansspoken word or speech and also donates a tale narrative or story.
Greekmythology is widely based around gods, heroes and rituals of ancient Greeks butall these myths are not every really verifiable and usually the origin of thestory is unknown but yet are claimed to be a truth.This painting is called “The Creation of the This painting is called “The reunion of Cupid Galaxy”It is held at the National Gallery, and psyche”it was painted by Jean Pierre London,England and painted by Giacopo Saint-Ours in 1809. It tells the myth of Cupid Tintorreto,1580.
The story is that “Zeus and Psyche after a lone time oftrying to find puts baby Hercules to breastfeed from Hera, each other. but spilled milk creates the galaxy.”The story of Cupid and Psyche supposedly goes that a king hadthree daughters and only one of them was beautiful – Psyche – and people camefrom all over to see if it was true, men started worshiping her as if she werea goddess and begin to ignore Venus who was the goddess of love and beauty. Shedidn’t like this so she orders her son cupid to punish her by making Psychefall in love with an ugly man. Cupid sneaks into her bedroom and upon seeingher he gets distracted by her beauty he pricks himself with his own arrow,instantly he falls in love with her. As her life goes on she sisters marry anddoes not, this worry’s her parents so they take her to ask the oracle of Apollo about their daughter’s future. He tellsthem that she is destined to marry a monster, so she was left on a mountain (asinstructed) to await this monster. As she expects something bad to happen, thewind (Zephyr, the west wind) blows her to a field where she finds a castlewhich is full of treasure and priceless artworks.
That night her husband to becomes but its dark so she can’t see what he looks like, he comes only in thedarkness of the night as she never wants to see what he looks like. Psycheconvinces her invisible husband to let her two sisters come and visit. Thesisters get very jealous, they want to know who her husband is so she lies buteventually tells them the truth that he only comes at night. They remind hershe was to marry a monster and make her look at him while he’s asleep and tocarry a knife in case he really is a monster to see what he really looks like,she does this only to find out that its Cupid, she is surprised at how handsomehe is and is so distracted that she lets oil drop from the lamp she is holdingand burs him. He is furious to see her with a knife so he flies away and tellsher that she will never see him again, the castle disappears and she is alone,she is so alone that she goes and tells her sisters what happened, they thinkthat they can take her husband for themselves so go and jump off the mountainZephyr doesn’t take them down and they fall to their death.
Psyche wants tofind cupid and ends up going to a temple of Ceres, She askes for help but whenVenus she shows her anger for what she done to Cupid and she must do a taskbefore she can become his wife