Friday, November 16, 2012

Wedgwood's Iphigenia is ... a guy?

OGCMA0603IphigeniaAulis_Wedgwood

"The Sacrifice of Iphigenia" (1795) jasperware plaque is misnamed. (top, right)  It is actually Wedgwood's version of Camillo Pacetti's "Achilles in Scyros among the daughters of Lycomedes".

It is the moment when Odysseus discerns the young Achilles in hiding and outs him by offering a mixture of attractions for girls and for boys. Disclosed, Achilles is pressed into service at Troy, where the Greeks know prophetically they cannot conquer without him. (Ov. Met. 13.162-70)

Pacetti was employed by Wedgwood in Rome from 1787. Between 1788 and 1790, he created a 5-panel narrative of "The Whole Life of Achilles". Pacetti adapted the figures from the Luna marble puteal given to the Capitoline Museum by Pope Benedict XIV. Later he added "Priam Kneeling before Achilles". Only the Achilles on Scyros and Achilles receiving Priam were executed by the firm.

A handful of Wedgwood plaques are done with designs from Pacetti. Some of his designs are incorporated into vases. (R. Reilly, Wedgwood: a new illustrated dictionary, s.v. "Pacetti, Camillo")

OGCMA lists Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. [Cf. M.R. Scherer, The Legends of Troy in Art and Literature. New York: Phaidon, 1963. P. 250.] It is unknown how many of these plaques are in existence.

This is the only piece listed for Wedgwood by Reid in OGCMA.

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