Publication details

Symbolika včel v kroměřížské sala terreně

Title in English The Symbolism of the Bees in the Sala Terrena in Kroměříž


Year of publication 2019
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Opuscula historiae artium
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords Iconography; Baroque Art; Sculpture; Ancient Mythology; Bee
Description The article focuses on the problem of the iconographic identification of one of the sculptures in the Sala Terrena in Kroměříž Chateau that makes emphatic use of the symbolism of bees. The bee is a motif deeply rooted in classical mythology and its symbolism underpins numerous stories and various elements of meaning. This article draws attention to the ones that could most meaningfully shed light on how the sculpture should be interpreted and revisits an early modern version of the myth. The analysis suggests that the sculpture in Kroměříž Chateau probably represents a variation on the story of the nymph Melissa and formally resembles a print by Johann Friedrich Greuter (1590–1662) from Giovanni Battista Ferrari’s botanical treatise Flora, seu De florum cultura, though it is based conceptually on a different source text than Ferrari’s text. Of all the versions analysed it conceptually most resembles the story of Melissa in the writings of Dydimus the Blind, recalled by Lactantius in Divinae institutiones, and the story of King Melisseus and his daughters Amaltheia and Melissa who took care of feeding the young Jupiter. This version is also mentioned in early modern treatises on mythology. Commissions of bishop of Olomouc Karl II of Liechtenstein-Castelcorn (1624–1695) are moreover known and has been shown to have been influenced by Ferrari’s treatise and mythographic texts.
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