A Pair Of 18th Century Derby Figures Of Mars & Minerva




A pair of early Derby figures of Mars and Minerva

Both standing, he dressed as a Roman centurion with his right hand upon his hip, his other holding his sword hilt, a shield with purple flames resting on the ground to his right and a purple flag with yellow trim behind. Wearing a purple plumed helmet, pink scale armour, a green skirt with yellow and orange straps and red sandals, his white cloak or paludamentum fastened at one shoulder

She with her right hand raised to hold her spear, the other resting upon a shield, it's boss carved to represent a screeching Gorgon. Her white skirt painted with multiple sprays of red, orange, pink and green flowers, with a matching pink scale armour bodice, a green and yellow cloak and a pink helmet with yellow and puce feathers

Very, very faint patch marks

Circa 1758-60

Roman emperors were often portrayed wearing paludamentum (a cloak or cape fastened on one shoulder) in their statues (e.g. the Prima Porta Augustus) and on their coinage. It was also seen as a ceremonial act for setting out for war. The battle between Mars & Minerva, a subject taken from Homer's Iliad, has been depicted in many paintings and sculptures, none more so than in Jacques-Louis David's The Combat of Mars and Minerva circa 1771. Please see the link below:

WikiArt - The Visual Art Encyclopedia

And from the Iliad:

"Minerva took the whip and reins, and drove straight at Mars. He was in the act of stripping huge Periphas, son of Ochesius and bravest of the Aetolians. Bloody Mars was stripping him of his armour, and Minerva donned the helmet of Hades, that he might not see her; when, therefore, he saw Diomed, he made straight for him and let Periphas lie where he had fallen. As soon as they were at close quarters he let fly with his bronze spear over the reins and yoke, thinking to take Diomed's life, but Minerva caught the spear in her hand and made it fly harmlessly over the chariot. Diomed then threw, and Pallas Minerva drove the spear into the pit of Mars's stomach where his under-girdle went round him. There Diomed wounded him, tearing his fair flesh and then drawing his spear out again. Mars roared as loudly as nine or ten thousand men in the thick of a fight, and the Achaeans and Trojans were struck with panic, so terrible was the cry he raised..."

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