Description In Venice, with its great port, the Roman god Neptune, ruler of the oceans, was a popular motif for the decoration of everyday objects as well as elegant statuettes. The symmetrical, undulating forms of this knocker suggest Neptune's watery element and takes its shape from the flashing tails of his winged sea horses, the hippocamps, who draw his chariot. Door knockers were generally crudely executed since they were produced in great numbers by a foundry. However, the model for this piece, of which there are many variants, must have been finely proportioned and crafted and has been attributed to the Venetian sculptor Alessandro Vittoria (1525-1608). There are related versions in the British Museum and the Harvard Art Museums.
Provenance A. Seligmann, Rey and Co., New York [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Samson [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1917 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1917
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