Jupiter and Antiope. Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.299:1, 2-2008

Jupiter and Antiope. Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.299:1, 2-2008

Jupiter and Antiope
Jean-Pierre Huaut (1655-1723) and/or Ami Huaut (1657-1724)
Geneva, Switzerland
1700-15
Enamel on copper in gold and copper-alloy frame; gilded silver on reverse, with glazed reverse made in France, about 1900
Signed on counter-enamel 'Huaut p'
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.299:1, 2-2008

The Huaut brothers started mass-production of colourful enamel plaques depicting mythological or erotic scenes, such as this one of the Roman god Jupiter disguised as a faun, uncovering the sleeping Antiope, daughter of the king of Thebes. This myth was frequently used as a way of portraying the female nude.

This plaque may have originally been intended as a lid or cover for a casket or a box. Images created in enamel were ideal for decorating small objects such as watches, snuffboxes and small caskets (this enamel measures just 4.5 x 6.5 centimetres), and many were decorated with portraits, allegorical or mythological scenes. Depending on their size, enamels could also be set into jewellery so that they could be worn close to the body.