By: R. Phillips & Co.
Date: 1821 (circa)
Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.5 inches (23.4 cm x 16.5 cm)
Description: This lovely antique engraving features the constellation Virgo, the only constellation represented as female in form. It is the second largest constellation, with 26 known exoplanets orbiting around 20 stars of the constellation. This engraving’s depiction of her follows the myths of antiquity in which she is mentioned. According to Babylonian records which date to approximately 1000 BC, Virgo was known as ‘The Furrow’, representing an ear of corn of another goddess. The Greeks and Romans associated Virgo with their goddess of wheat, Demeter-Ceres, mother of Persephone-Proserpina. Alternatively she was sometimes identified as a virgin goddess holding the scales of justice in her hand as the constellation Libra.
During the Middle Ages, Virgo was often associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary. Here Virgo is depicted as an angel with wings holding a stalk of wheat in her left hand. She is usually identified as the goddess of Justice, Dike, daughter of Zeus and Themis. The Golden Age of man was Virgo’s time on earth, a time of peace and happiness when spring was eternal, food grew with no cultivation, and humans never grew old, lived like gods, and had no knowledge of work, sorrow or war. When Zeus overthrew his father Cronus the Silver Age began. During this time Zeus was harsh and strict, perceiving humanity as lowly creatures far beneath the immortals. He subsequently shortened spring and imposed the yearly cycle of seasons. Mankind abandoned their gods, no longer worshipping or honoring them. Virgo yearned to return to the peace and plenty of the Golden Age and summoned humanity to her, spoke sternly to them about the abandonment of tradition, and warned them that worse was to come. Following her pronouncement she turned her back on mankind, spread her wings and flew to take refuge in the mountains.
Condition: This engraving is in A condition. Folded as issued. Toning and mild soiling at the outer edges.
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