Sunday, May 31, 2015

15 works - Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion. Know Their Stories

Anthonie van Dyck,
Venus in the Forge of Vulcan
Oil on wood. 32.5 x 21 cm.

Sir Anthony van Dyck (22 March 1599 – 9 December 1641) was a Flemish Baroque artist who became the leading court painter in England, after enjoying great success in Italy and Flanders. He is most famous for his portraits of Charles I of England and his family and court, painted with a relaxed elegance that was to be the dominant influence on English portrait-painting for the next 150 years. He also painted biblical and mythological subjects, displayed outstanding facility as a draughtsman, and was an important innovator in watercolour and etching.

Venus went to her husband Vulcan's forge and asked him to make arms for her son Aeneas. On the right are two Cyclopes who have made the armor under Vulcan's direction. 

Dutch School, 17th Century
An offering to the Goddess Diana
oil on canvas
20 x 34 ¼ in. (50.8 x 87 cm.)

The Dutch School were painters in the Netherlands from the early Renaissance to the Baroque. It includes Early Netherlandish (1400–1500) and Dutch Renaissance (1500–1584) artists active in the northern Low Countries and, later, Dutch Golden Age painting in the United Provinces.

The festival for Diana, (aka Festival of Torches) was celebrated by the ancient Romans either on 13–15 August or on the August Full Moon, in honor of the goddess Diana. This festival was later adopted by Catholics as The Feast of the Assumption.

On this day, worshippers would form a shimmering procession of torches and candles around the dark waters of Lake Nemi, Diana's Mirror, wearing wreaths of flowers. The lights of their candles join the light of the moon, dancing in reflection upon the surface of the water.

Alessandro Allori (Florence 1535-1607)
Laocoön
oil on panel
28 5/8 x 22¼ in. (72.7 x 56.5 cm.)

Alessandro di Cristofano di Lorenzo del Bronzino Allori (Florence, 31 May 1535 – 22 September 1607) was an Italian portrait painter of the late Mannerist Florentine school.

In 1540, after the death of his father, he was brought up and trained in art by a close friend, often referred to as his 'uncle', the mannerist painter Agnolo Bronzino, whose name he sometimes assumed in his pictures. In some ways, Allori is the last of the line of prominent Florentine painters, of generally undiluted Tuscan artistic heritage.

Laocoön is the son of Acoetes, a figure in Greek and Roman mythology and the Epic Cycle. He was a Trojan priest who was attacked, with his two sons, by giant serpents sent by the gods. Though not mentioned by Homer, the story of Laocoön had been the subject of a tragedy, now lost, by Sophocles and was mentioned by other Greek writers, though the events around the attack by the serpents vary considerably. The most famous account of these is now in Virgil's Aeneid where Laocoön was a priest of Poseidon (or Neptune for the Romans), who was killed with both his sons after attempting to expose the ruse of the Trojan Horse by striking it with a spear.

Jan van Noordt (Amsterdam 1620-1676)
Nymphs and a Satyr

oil on canvas
32 5/8 x 26 3/8 in. (83 x 66.9 cm.)

Jan van Noordt lived on the Bloemgracht in Amsterdam in 1674. He was the teacher of the painter Johannes Voorhout and is known for italianate landscapes, portraits, and historical allegories

Roman Alabaster Head of Serapis. Roman Empire, ca. 1st to 2nd century CE. Finely sculpted head of Serapis. Serapis was a Graeco-Egyptian god who first appeared around the time of Alexander the Great. Sculpture is shown with thick, wavy locks framing his face, and a full beard and moustache. Size: 2-7/8" H.

A Hellenistic Marble Torso of Aphrodite, circa 2nd Century B.C.
of the type called Aphrodite Anadyomene, of graceful form standing with her weight on the left leg, her right arm and left forearm formerly raised  to arrange her hair, part of a tress remaining on her right shoulder.
Aphrodite was born from the sea, and after she emerged, wrung the sea foam from her hair and tied it in a bun.
Height 13 in. 33 cm.

A Marble Torso of a Nymph, Roman Imperial, circa 2nd Century A.D.
standing with her legs crossed and right arm raised, the large hand of a satyr(?) pressing the folds of her mantle against her upper back and left shoulder in a mighty embrace, remains of a support against her right buttock.
Height 13 3/4 in. 34.9 cm


Charles Joseph Natoire (attributed to) 
Untitled (Baccanale)
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Size: Approx. 40.6 x 50.8 centimeters 16" x 20" inches
Date: 1780 circa

Charles-Joseph Natoire (3 March 1700 – 23 August 1777) was a French painter in the Rococo manner, a pupil of François Lemoyne and director of the French Academy in Rome, 1751-1775. Considered during his lifetime the equal of François Boucher, he played a prominent role in the artistic life of France.

He is remembered above all for the series of the History of Psyche for Germain Boffrand's oval salon de la Princesse in the Hôtel de Soubise, Paris, and for the tapestry cartoons for the series of the History of Don Quixote, woven at the Beauvais tapestry manufacture, most of which are at the Château de Compiègne.

Old Master German Baroque,  
The Three Graces
Medium: Oil on wood panel
Size: 21" x 26" Approximate
Date: 17th century

The mythological three Graces, daughters of Zeus – identified on some engravings of the statue as, from left to right, Euphrosyne, Aglaea and Thalia - who were said to represent beauty, charm and joy. The Graces presided over banquets and gatherings primarily to entertain and delight the guests of the gods.

1700 Nîmes - 1777 Castel Gandolfo - circle
Venus and Mars in the Smithy of the Volcano
Oil on canvas. Relined. 104 x 129cm.

Venus had two main divine lovers: her husband Vulcan and Mars. There is a myth concerning Venus' and Mars' love affair and how Vulcan cunningly trapped them in bed.

Charles-Joseph Natoire (3 March 1700 – 23 August 1777) was a French painter in the Rococo manner, a pupil of François Lemoyne and director of the French Academy in Rome, 1751-1775. Considered during his lifetime the equal of François Boucher, he played a prominent role in the artistic life of France.

He is remembered above all for the series of the History of Psyche for Germain Boffrand's oval salon de la Princesse in the Hôtel de Soubise, Paris, and for the tapestry cartoons for the series of the History of Don Quixote, woven at the Beauvais tapestry manufacture, most of which are at the Château de Compiègne.

Venus and Mars
1688 Düsseldorf
Oil on wood. Parqueted. 21,5 x 27cm. Inscribed lower left: B Douven

The subject of this painting is an episode from classical literature about the loves of the gods. Mars, the god of war, falls in love with Venus and succeeds in meeting her in the palace of her husband, Vulcan. Douven depicts the moment just before the adulterous couple is caught by Vulcan.

Bartholomeus Frans Douven was a visual artist who was born in 1688. Several works by the artist have been sold at auction, including 'Bathsheba at Her Bath' in 2012. The artist died in 1726.

Attributed to the Caravaggio school
Oil on canvas. 
Size 191 x 154cm.


The Satyr Marsyas finds Athena's flute, which she threw away before due to vanity and he plays on the flute. He presumptuously attributes the divine sounds to his abilities and therefore accepts the artistic competition which the furious Apollo requests. The stake for this competition of the flute against the divine lyre or vielle is that the winner is in charge of the loser. At first Marsyas does well, but he has to give in when he is challenged to sing and at the same time play the flute. More


Trumeau Wall Mirror with Painting ‘Venus and Putti’, 19th C.
Wooden frame, painted and partly with gold
France, 2nd third of the 19th century
Decorative wall mirror with oil painting
Representation of Venus with maid and cherubs
Overall dimensions: c. 216 x 126 cm


This wall mirror is a so-called ‘Trumeau’ mirror. Originally mirrors of this kind were placed between two windows to add light to a room and provide a decorative eye-catcher due to their mostly very ornate design. Often the upper part was taken up by a painting, as is the case here. The present oil painting depicts a scene with Venus attended to by putti before a backdrop of clouds.

Oil on panel
France, around 1800
Verso inscribed ‘Leclerc / peintre aux Gobelins / 1785’
Gold painted wooden frame with leaf frieze
Dimensions, framed: 25.5 x 31 cm

This small-format, idyllic subject was created towards the end of the Rococo in around 1800 by an artist who was active in France. Depicted is a scene with Venus and two putti in a summery landscape. The goddess of love with blue hairband and white gown is accompanied by two putti with wings and the attribute arrow and bow. The artist understood well how to present the mythological scene in a fine brushwork and idyllic effects of light and shadow in the gown of the depicted.