Day and Night

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The allegorical figures of Day and Night are some of the most beautiful to be found with regularity among cameos that have come to us from the Victorian Era.  Because there are so many variants, they are taken up here in three sections: the figures in solo turns; the two together in jugate compositions; and the full figures of Bertel Thorvaldsen's reliefs.

 Radiant Day, wreathed in flowers, her companion, a bird carrying a cornucopia filled with the flowers that open as she shines down upon themClick on photos to enlarge.

And nodding, heavy lidded Night, veiled, wreathed with soporific poppy pods, accompanied by the nocturnal owl.   Click on photos to enlarge.

In most renderings of Day, the torch-carrying bird has the beak & head of a dove.  But in clutching the cornucopia, which probably started out as a torch, it closely resembles the eagle often seen gripping the thunderbolts of Zeus, and occasionally carvers did place a Jovian eagle in the forground, as seen in the fourth picture of the fist gallery above.  Occasionally examples are seen in which the carver has placed thunderbolts in the bird's talons.