April 27, 2013
According to Virgil in the fourth Georgic, at one time the bees of Aristaeus, son of Apollo, all died of a disease. Aristaeus went to his mother, Cyrene, for help; she told him that Proteus could tell him how to prevent another such disaster, but would do so only if compelled. Aristaeus had to seize Proteus and hold him, no matter what he would change into. Aristeus did so, and Proteus eventually gave up and told him that it was a punishment for causing the death of Eurydice. To make amends he must sacrifice 12 animals to the gods, leave the corpses in the place of sacrifice, and return three days later. When Aristaeus returned after the three days he found in one of the carcasses a swarm of bees, which he took to his apiary. The bees were never again troubled by disease.
Sébastien Slodtz (1655??1726) was a French sculptor, the father of a trio of brothers who helped shape official French sculpture between the Baroque and the Rococo. He was born at Antwerp and joined the Paris workshop of François Girardon, under whose direction he worked for the sculptural decor of Versailles and its gardens and for the Tuileries. Sébastien Slodtz was the outstanding sculptor to come out of Girardon's atelier. He held the post of Dessinateur de la Chambre et du Cabinet de Sa Majesté, a post that two of his sons filled after him.
Sébastien Slodtz is best known for his Aristaeus fettering Proteus, begun in 1688, installed in 1714 in the Bassin d'Apollon on the grand terrace at Versailles, where it remains.
Aristaeus fettering Proteus
April 27, 2013