Harry Bates
Pandora exhibited 1891

Artwork details

Harry Bates 1850–1899
Date Exhibited 1891
Medium Marble, ivory and bronze on marble base
Dimensions Object: 1060 x 540 x 785mm
Acquisition Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1891
Not on display

Display caption

In Greek myth Pandora was the first mortal woman. The gods gave her gifts of beauty, the power of song and eloquence. Zeus gave her a box containing every human ill and sent her to Earth. When she opened this box, all the misfortunes that afflicted mankind flew out. Bates shows the moment of hesitation before Pandora opens the forbidden box. He suggests Pandora's mood of consideration and temptation while also recognising the inevitable fulfilment of the myth. This way he acknowledges the compulsion of character, and frailty of the human spirit. The ivory box is carved with figures relating to the creation of Pandora.

February 2010