Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ivan Mazeppa

According to Herbert Rupp and Sabine Fellner, "Austria Tabak. Die Sammlung des Oesterreichischen Tabaksmuseum" (1991), this carving recounts the tale of Mazeppa, the romantic narrative poem by Lord Byron in 1819, based on a popular legend about the early life of Ivan Mazeppa (1639-1709), a Ukrainian gentleman who later became Hetman of the Ukrainian Cossacks. 

According to the poem, the young Mazeppa, while serving as a page at the Court of King John II Casimir Vasa, has a love affair with a Countess named Theresa, who was married to a much older man. The Count, on discovering the affair, punishes Mazeppa by tying him naked to a wild horse and setting the horse loose. 

French artist, painter and lithographer Jean-Louis André Théodore Géricault (1791 –1824) and one of the pioneers of the Romantic movement, best known for "The Raft of Medusa" (1819),

(left side detail)

 immortalized Ivan Mazeppa in his 1823 painting:

so did French painter Horace Vernet (1789-1863),

Self portrait, Horace Vernet, 1835, Hermitage Museum, Saint-Petersburg
 in an oil canvas called "Mazeppa and the wolves",

Mazeppa and the wolves, Horace Vernet, Musée Calvet, Avignon, France

The authors believe that this pipe was carved in 1845 by the Austrian, Johann Nepomuk Geiger (1805-1880).


  1. I have only today, 1st April, discouragingly, come across Ivan Mazep(p)a which is a shame since I have Ukrainian friends and should have been better informed. One of the wonders of the Internet is the ability to pick up so much information - to look at the images such as the extraordinarily beautiful tobacco pipe and to read Byron's poem - in such a short time. Simon