Magnificent pair of Empire Medici vases signed Claude François Rabiat

Pair of Empire Medici vases signed Claude François Rabiat (1756-1815)

Rare pair of gilt and patinated bronze Empire Medici vases / campana urns signed by Claude François Rabiat. They each have a gadrooned rim and to the sides they have bearded satyr mask handles. Further, the body presents decorations of centaurs carrying baskets of grapes. They stand on a quadrangular base in dark patina and ormolu with a frieze of applied motifs with female Bacchic masks and palmettes among grape vines. French work from the Empire period, beginning of the 19th century.

This pair of Medici vases caries the signature of Claude François Rabiat on the interior rail of each plinth (see last photo). Claude François Rabiat (1756-1815) was a foundry-chaser who received master in 1778. He was very famous and worked mostly with top bronziers like Thomire, Feuchère and Galle and clockmakers like Bailly and Mallet.

The pair of vases is in a very good condition.

The Medici Vase

These Medici vases are inspired by  the famous Medici Vase, sculpted in Athens in the second half of the 1st century AD. Made as a garden ornament for the Roman market, that vase is a monumental marble bell-shaped vase (called krater). Standing 1.52 metres tall, with a gadrooned everted lip, it has a deep frieze carved with a mythological bas-relief.  The vase reappeared in the 1598 inventory of the Villa Medici in Rome, where it embellished the garden of the illustrous family. It was removed to Florence in 1780 and soon after displayed in the Uffizi, where it remains today, in the first-floor Verone sull’Arno overlooking the River Arno. It was often illustrated in engravings, the most famous of which is by Stefano della Bella (1656); he depicted the young Medici heir who would become Grand Duke Cosimo III seated, drawing the vase.

Often paired as garden ornaments since the later 17th century with the similar Borghese Vase, they are two of the most admired and influential vases from antiquity. From the seventeenth until the nineteenth century both the Medici Vase and the Borghese Vase were often compared and copies of them arranged as companions.

The Centaurs

A centaur is a creature from Greek mythology with the upper body of a human and the lower body and legs of a horse. They inhabited the region of Magnesia and Mount Pelion in Thessaly. Traditionally they were the offspring of Ixion, king of the neighbouring Lapiths, and were best known for their fight (centauromachy) with the Lapiths, which resulted from their attempt to carry off the bride of Pirithous, son and successor of Ixion. They lost the battle and were driven from Mount Pelion. In later Greek times they were often represented drawing the chariot of the wine god Dionysus or bound and ridden by Eros, the god of love, in allusion to their drunken and amorous habits.

Details of the Empire Medici vases signed Rabiat

Dimensions: 32 cm high, diameter of the vase 14 cm. Size of the base: 11 x 11 cm.
Weight: 5.4 kg (for the pair).

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