Wednesday, October 22, 2014

TFTFBT: Bella Rophan at the Palmer House

I recently had the pleasure of staying in Chicago’s Palmer House hotel.  To quote the plaque on the statue named  Bella Rophan; “The focal point of our lobby elevator foyer is the dramatic bronze sculpture created in France in the mid 19th century.”  The artist was Emile Herbert 1828-1893.  The piece depicts a mythical Greek Warrior on a bridle-free stallion. The fact that the horse is not tethered has been interrupted that the creature is the spirit of the wind and that the warrior  simply along for the ride having no control over the winged steed.“ Which is odd because in Pindar, Olympian Ode 13 the poet states that Till Pallas [Athena], goddess maid, brought him (Bellerophon) the bridle and golden headband.”  I was reminded of the Helmet of Invisibility lent to Perseus, another flying hero.

The plaque continues with “ A curiosity of the work is the python around the warrior’s head, arms and hand. The inclusion of the serpent is puzzling and no explanation has been determined.”