Versailles Porcelain


On 16 May Chateau Versailles began to exhibit some of the porcelain pieces of Sèvres that used to be in the royal collection: today the royal porcelain is scattered all over the world and only occasionally we see it reunited in a meaningful way and then no pictures are allowed; but I still stole one while the person on duty was texting; and now I too have something to write about, for what we see is a late XVIII century vase illustrating the myth of Callisto.

Callisto was a female companion of Artemis; and, as you see on the vase, Zeus has changed himself into his daughter to seduce her chaste votary. Immediately the love story turns into a Greek tragedy: Callisto gives birth to Arcas, and the boy almost kills his mom, who has been transformed into a bear by jealous Artemis; but Zeus comes to the rescue, places the mother and the child into protective custody up in the sky; and thereafter Callisto is known as the Big Dipper, Ursa Major, or Big Bear, with her son right next to her, Ursa Minor, or Little Bear.

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