Saturday, August 29, 2015

Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion, Diana Silvarum

Friedrich Stahl (German, 1863-1940) Portrait of Diana Silvarum
Friedrich Stahl (German, 1863-1940)
Portrait of Diana Silvarum
signed, dated and inscribed 'Fried/Stahl-/Florenz/1920' (lower left); inscribed 'DIANA SILVARUM.CULTRIX.CASTISSIMA.EST' (upper edge)
oil on panel 
35.5 x 27cm (14 x 10 5/8in)

Diana Silvarum. Stahl portrays his sitter as Diana, the hunter Goddess with her decorated quiver subtly slung over her shoulder. The inscription in stylised Latin lettering roughly translated as 'Diana of the forest is devoted and chaste', gives a sense of this not being a straight forward commissioned portrait, but something much more intimate and important. Stahl was pulled in two directions in his career; the pull of society pictures depicting bourgeois subjects with Impressionist influenced brushwork working against his more radical tendency as embodied by this portrait. 

Friedrich Stahl,  (German, 1863-1940), studied at the Munich Academy in 1878. At the age of 21 he moved into his own studio in Berlin where he was active from 1886 until 1898. He co-founded the 'Vereinigung der XI' which had its first exhibition in 1892 at the Galerie Schulte in Berlin. He was later appointed as a member of the Society of German Watercolour Painters and for a period was active in the Munich Secession.

Stahl travelled to England in 1899 in order to further his interest and study of the Pre-Raphaelites that were the foundation of the English brotherhood, the template for much of his own work for the remainder of his career.

The artist subsequently moved to Florence in 1904, where he remained until 1913 studying the works of the early Italian Renaissance. The present lot is a direct result of this influence. 

After a brief time in Munich in 1914 Stahl moved to Feldafing for 12 years where it is likely the present lot was painted. He then returned to Rome in 1925, eventually dying there in 1940 after receiving the Goethe medal under the direction of Martin Bormann. More