ATHENA - MOSES SPOONS AND FORK


These are the largest spoons and fork combination which I own

athena moses spoon fork german huge

As you can see the spoons and forks measure about 15'' and have a weight commensurate with their size. I have included a ruler on the left and a normal tea size spoon on the right
so that you can get an idea of size.

The Victorians had no problems with mixing ideas and themes from different eras and these pieces clearly show this styling.
These spoons were made in Hanau, Germany  by Weinranck and Schmidt and were probably made in the 1890's. This firm specialized in  hand made silver.
I suspect that 800 silver was used, but they are not marked. There are re-inforcing silver bars soldered on the back.
I want to thank Nick Peck for helping me identify these Hanau silver marks

The spoon was constructed in 3 parts.
1. the top finial of Athena was repoussed and then chased to create the detail
2. the stem was cast
3. The bowl was hand formed and repoussed and then chased to create the detail of Moses.
Careful observation will show that the bowls are slightly different shapes

The red color in these photographs is a reflection of the red shirt I was wearing when I took the photos.
I personally think that it enhances the pictures.

athena greek goddess nude breasts victorianart nouveaunude

After a lot of research, I determined that this is a representation of the Greek goddess Athena.
Athena was the goddess of wisdom and war and she is frequently portrayed holding a shield and a spear.

This is an unusual representation of Athena. Most Greek statues show the figure holding the shield in their left hand and the spear in their right hand.
The right hand is usually stronger and has better co-ordination.
I found some other Art Nouveau pictures showing this reverse configuration, but it is quite rare.

Another unusual thing is that Athena is bare breasted with a filmy cloth around her waist.
Some Greek goddess statues do show female breasts, but they are usually clothed.

On the right is a typical Art Nouveau female  nude. I placed it here so that you can see the similarity in the styling.
More Art Nouveau female nudes can be seen by clicking here

In the background are some buildings. Ths is very common in Dutch genre art of the 1500-1700 era

moses, golden calf spoon silver
The repoussed/chased bowl shows Moses holding the ten commandments.
There is also the golden calf next to him (Exodus 32:4).
Both are surrounded with foilage and a brick wall (Exodus 5).

Obviously Athena and Moses have nothing in common, but that did not daunt the Victorians.

fork angels silver

The fork has a different configuration showing two winged angels surrounding a face.
I am unsure if this is supposed to be a human face or an animal face.
The use of winged angels and puttis is very common in Central European art.

spoon ketubah
This is an elaborate  Ketubah (Jewish wedding certificate)  from Nice, France ca. 1690
Notice the two naked figures under the tree and notice the angels at the top.
Also notice the two puttis below the naked figures--
these are very similar to the figures on this spoon


The stem has its own configuration and is composed of a snake, a face and other symbols.
Obviously the snake wrapped around the stem comes from the Adam and Eve story and the leaf is probably the proverbial 'fig' leaf.
The male and female faces probably are Adam and Eve.
but I am unsure of some of the other elements.

The cast parts of all three pieces are the same.
The repousse/chased parts are very similar but do show small variations which is typical of human workmanship.

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