BERTOS, Francesco
(active 1693-1733)

Allegorical Groups Representing the Four Continents: Europe

1710-25
Bronze, height 63 cm
Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

Francesco Bertos created a considerable number of complicated pyramidal groups in a very distinctive, ingenious style that mirrors the lightness and airiness of contemporary Rococo painting in France. Four groups in the Walters Art Museum are allegories of the four continents, of which the world was then thought to consist. All have their names engraved.

In the allegory of Europe, Jupiter, the king of the gods in Greco-Roman mythology, crowns Bellona, the goddess of war. Jupiter's eagle rest on objects used in war: canon, shield, and drum. Europe is thereby represented as being the leader of the world through her military prowess. The figure of Religion on the ground reveals that the Christian faith is the source of Europe's superior position.