Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion, Gian Lorenzo Bertolotto; Achilles amongst the daughters of Lycomedes

Achilles amongst the daughters of Lycomedes 
oil on canvas
140 x 181.9cm (55 1/8 x 71 5/8in).

Achilles' mother, knowing that her son would die if he fought in the Trojan War, disguised him as a woman and entrusted him to King Lycomedes' household, where he lived among the king's daughters. When war threatened, Ulysses and other Greek chieftains were sent to fetch him, knowing they had to trick him into revealing himself. Cunningly, they deposited a heap of gifts before the women: jewelry, clothes, and other finery, but also a sword and shield. When it came time to select from the gifts, Achilles instinctively grasped the weapons, thus revealing his true identity.

The painting was originally attributed to Gioacchino Assereto (1600-1650) as it is of the same dimensions as his Alfonso VII of Castille and the Genoese (Andrea Doria) at Almeria which hung together with the present work when they were both in the collection of Count Carlo Bruzzo in Genoa in the 1930s. However, in his 2003 article, Manzitti suggests that it is a mature work by Gian Lorenzo Bertolotto.