Braun, Emil
Explanatory Text and Additional Plates to Lewis Gruners̕ Specimens of Ornamental Art — London, 1850

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This wonderful specimen of ancient bronze workmanship, has, since its discovery among the ruins of Herculaneum in
the middle of the last century, become celebrated throughout Europe. The beauty of its conception, and delicacy of its
execution, are indeed so striking, that, added to its fortunate state of preservation, few objects of the kind may be
compared with this precious relic. The casting and chasing are admirably executed, and the ornaments, which are inlaid
in silver, are of the highest beauty. Hitherto a faithful and well-executed drawing of it was wanting. The engravings
of these sublime outlines already published are worthless. A merely picturesque record of a work like this does harm
rather than good, as the slightest alteration of such refined details destroys the effect of the whole, and gives a totally false
idea of its peculiar character of refined beauty.

The design laid before us has been taken carefully from the original, and it is such as to enable us thoroughly
to admire and understand the merits of this classical work. The inlaid ornaments of the disk, which crowns the top, are
given on the left of our Plate, together with the profile of it; and those of the corresponding disk, which is placed upon
the lion's feet of our candelabrum, are represented on the right.—The sections are indicated.

The height of the shaft is four feet.


Both these candelabra present nearly the same motive, as we see from the construction of the feet and the shape
of the top. A gi-eat and graceful variety may, however, be remarked in the carrying out of the idea, which forms, as
it were, the starting-point to the imagination of the artist. To understand the refinement which manifests itself in so
delicate a mode of treatment, every line must be carefully observed, and for this purpose the present drawings have been
made exactly the size of the originals. These candelabra are inlaid with ornaments of blue enamel marked (a).



a b.—Scabbard of a Sword presented by Charles V. to Moritz, Elector of Saxony. The ornamental part of this
well-proportioned weapon shows that exuberance of imagination, which the genius of Michael Angelo transmitted to
his pupils. In this work we see a principle entirely opposed to that which was always jealously observed by the aucients,
who never allowed the ornamental finishing to be more than an accessory heightening of beauty, while the prolix style of
the Cinque-cento possessed itself to such a degree of the surfaces of the objects inviting the artist's fancy to embellish
them, that they were sometimes almost entirely concealed from the eye of the spectator. In the midst of all this luxury
there is, however, a certain purity of style, and the originality of the design deserves high praise.

cd e.—Hilt and Scabbard of a Swiss Sword of the XVIth Century. The manner in which the hilt of this sword
is composed of a great variety of elements, leads to a result entirely different from the other system of ornaments. The
mask of the snake-crowned Medusa, which appears immediately over the blade, shows the character of the implement
of war adorned by it. Trophies are tastefully arranged to form the body of the handle, and between them a Victory,
surrounded by eagles' heads, alludes to the glorious triumph of a knightly sword. There is at once poetry and distinctness
of original construction in such an arrangement, so that the eye at the first glance discovers the reason of the whole
combination, without being obliged to lift the veil thrown over the chief motive with such fanciful luxuriance.
The proportions of the different parts of which this hilt is composed are very fine, and astonishingly well balanced.
The eagles' heads likewise surround that of Medusa, and masks of Terror are represented at the ends of the guard.

d.—The graceful division of the oblong surface of this scabbard only heightens the effect of its agreeable proportions.
The compartments thus gained are filled with representations alluding to the use to which such an arm is destined. Although
we must confess that we do not entirely understand the symbolical language in which these ideas are expressed; yet we at
once perceive that the fighting scene at the top conveys allusion to the bloody trade for which this weapon is made. Good
Fortune, represented with a cornucopia, indicates the fate of war ; while underneath appears Nemesis, the godless of
vengeance, who holds in one hand a p dm branch, and in the other a wheel, on which a child is sitting. A sentinel seems
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