Apollo hazing Marsyas
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. Apollo punishes him horribly for wanting to put himself on an equal footing with the theotechny. While the old and tormented Satyr lies on the ground with his face twisted in pain, the divine winner Apollo defines the painting in every respect. Juvenile, dynamic, strong and determined he grabs the Satyr's leg and skins him alive without any signs of pity. He still holds the knife in his hand and with one foot he steps on the shackled Marsyas. His light skin, the juvenile head crowned by a laurel wreath and his dramatically moving cloak attract the spectators attention. The individuals are subordinated to the brown shade of the whole painting. The dramatic art of the event is increased by the diagonal posture of Apollo, by his moving cloak and especially by the strong contrasts of light and dark on his skin. The scene takes place in an undefined landscape, Apollo's vielle can be seen on the ground at the front margin of the painting. More