Designed and modeled by Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (French, Anizy-le-Château 1824–1887 Sèvres)
Executed by Lucien Falize (French, Paris, 1842–1897)
H. 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm); W. 5 3/16 in. (13.2 cm); D. 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm); Wt. 1 lb. 12 oz. (799.5 g)
Purchase, Gift of William H. Riggs, by exchange, 1989
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 376
This exquisitely worked sword hilt was created for Gaston de Béarn, prince of Viana (1840–1893), who had a personal devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes. The Virgin Mary, surmounted by a crown of lilies, forms the grip and pommel. The guard has a dynamic composition composed of the Archangel Michael, symbol of Christianity and leader of the armies of heaven, vanquishing Satan, here a writhing dragon with a human face. The sword’s evocative sacred imagery is almost without parallel in the context of late nineteenth-century weapons.
The hilt was designed and modeled by the sculptor Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse and was executed by the goldsmith-jeweler Lucien Falize. It is a rare collaboration between two leading artists in Paris at the end of the nineteenth century.
Artist: Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (French, Anizy-le-Château 1824–1887 Sèvres)Date: 19th centuryMedium: Red chalk, heightened with white chalk, touches of black chalkAccession: 1991.266On view in:Not on view