“Enea, Didone, Anna and the faithful Acate”

“Enea, Didone, Anna and the faithful Acate”

Length cm 20,5
Spread cm 34
Sticks 24 plus 2

Kind Vernis Martin France around1695-1715

 Brisè fan in ivory painted. The scene is quite complex and it represents, at the center, a male figure old fashioned dressed (Enea), on the right two female figures dressed following the fashion of the time (Didone and Anna) sitting in front of the entry of a cave; on the left a warrior with an helmet puts his hand on a urn (Acate?). The dresses of Didone can be reported to the fashion of the last fourth of the XVII century, particularly for the crest decoration on the head; the dress is composed by the farthingale , differently colored from the skirt, that covers a large shelf shirt. A wide cap is closed with a knot. Anna, more simply dressed, puts the right forearm on a turtle  (maybe the symbol of mercury) and holds with the left hand an arch (love symbol). The mythological history tells us that Anna , as advisor, convinced Didone to accept the love of Enea (this justifies the presence of the arch). The interpretation could be: Anna opposes to the impulsivity of her sister a quiter temperament (turtle), but  she that advices  to accept Enea ‘s love (arch and arrow). The faithful Acate, represented as a mature man, watches over the ashes of the strong Sicheo (?). The scene represents the meeting between Didone and Enea (Eneide I, 595-596), the advices of Anna are described in the fourth book. At the throat a little chinesery. The guards have at the level of the rivet, an pearl inclusion (this particular will be found in many fans that I put between 1700-1720 .
Historical notes:

The Vernis Martel lacquers, as the delicate purslanes, were very fashionable in the second half of the XVII century, imported by the companies of the oriental India. The local English and French markets were swept away so that the English workmanships at first and later French, tried to imitate them. In France in 1692 there’s the Guide Blegny to indicate the best lacquerers in Paris and amongst them there were the Martin who in 1714 obtained the honour of royal suppliers, for furniture and coaches.(Vedi: Joan deJean, Essence of style, op. cit., p. 244 – 245). In my opinion, after the desire of the marquise Maintenon to moralize and make sober the court life (vedi: L. de Mauri: Ventagli, op. cit., p.27-28), these Brisè fans became fashionable between 1690 and 1725. Crossing the century and arriving , for what concerns the furniture, to what it’s called regency style. This hypothesis could be a good reason for a debate.

"Details make perfection, and perfection is not a detail." Leonardo Da Vinci