Saturday, June 27, 2015

22 Works, RELIGIOUS ART - Paintings from the Bible by the Old Masters! The temptation of St. Anthony of Egypt

Anthony the Great (c. 251 – 356 AD), also known as Saint Anthony of Egypt, Anthony the Abbot, and Father of All Monks, was a Christian saint from Egypt, a prominent leader among the Desert Fathers. His feast day is January 17 in both the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches and 22 Tobi according to the calendar of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Artists: Hyeronimus Bosch, Lovis Corinth, Cornelis Massys, David Ryckaert, Joachim Patinir, David Rijckaert, Marten de Vos, David Teniers, Fra Angelico, Annibale Carracci, Félicien Rops, Paul Delaroche, J. Bosch, Fantin Latour, Sebastiano Ricci, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Tintoretto

Annibale Carracci  1597
The Temptation of St Anthony Abbot
Style: Baroque
Genre: religious painting
Technique: oil
Dimensions: 50 x 34 cm

Annibale Carracci (November 3, 1560 – July 15, 1609) was an Italian Baroque painter. He was born in Bologna, and in 1582, Annibale, his brother Agostino and his cousin Ludovico Carracci opened a painters' studio. While the Carraccis laid emphasis on the typically Florentine linear draftsmanship, their interest in the glimmering colours and mistier edges of objects derived from the Venetian painters, which Annibale and Agostino studied during their travels around Italy in 1580–81. This eclecticism was to become the defining trait of the artists of the Baroque Emilian or Bolognese School. More

Anthony is said to have faced a series of supernatural temptations during his pilgrimage to the desert. It is possible these events, like the paintings, are full of rich metaphor or in the case of the animals of the desert, perhaps a vision or dream. Some of the stories included in Saint Anthony's biography are perpetuated now mostly in paintings, where they give an opportunity for artists to depict their more lurid or bizarre interpretations.

The biography of Anthony's life by Athanasius of Alexandria helped to spread the concept of monasticism, particularly in Western Europe through Latin translations. 

Fra Angelico, 
St Anthony Abbot Shunning the Mass of Gold , 1430s. 

Fra Angelico (c. 1395 – February 18, 1455) was an Early Italian Renaissance painter described by Vasari as having "a rare and perfect talent".

In 1982 Pope John Paul II proclaimed his beatification, in recognition of the holiness of his life, thereby making the title of "Blessed" official. Fiesole is sometimes misinterpreted as being part of his formal name, but it was merely the name of the town where he took his vows as a Dominican friar, and was used by contemporaries to separate him from other Fra Giovannis. He is listed in the Roman Martyrology as Beatus Ioannes Faesulanus, cognomento Angelicus—"Blessed Giovanni of Fiesole, known as 'the Angelic'. More

He is often erroneously considered the first monk, but as his biography and other sources make clear, there were many ascetics before him. Anthony was, however, the first known ascetic going into the wilderness (about AD 270–271), a geographical move that seems to have contributed to his renown.

David Teniers the Younger (1610–1690)
The Temptation of Saint Anthony
Second half of 17th century
Oil on oak panel
22 cm (8.7 in). Width: 16 cm (6.3 in)

David Teniers the Younger (15 December 1610 – 25 April 1690) was a Flemish artist born in Antwerp.

Teniers was chosen by the common council of Antwerp to preside over the Guild of Saint Luke in 1644. The Archduke Leopold Wilhelm, who had assumed the government of the Spanish Netherlands employed Teniers as a painter and as keeper of his growing collection of pictures.

Two thousand paintings are thought to have been painted by Teniers. Smith's Catalogue Raisonné gives descriptions of over 900 paintings accepted as original productions of Teniers. Few artists ever worked with greater ease, and some of his smaller pictures, landscapes with figures, have been termed "afternoons", not from their subjects, but from the time spent in producing them.

Accounts of Anthony enduring supernatural temptation during his sojourn in the Eastern Desert of Egypt inspired the often-repeated subject of the temptation of St. Anthony in Western art and literature.

Maarten De Vos (1532-1603)
The Temptation Of Saint Anthony c. 1591-4
Antwerpen:Royal Museum of Fine Art (Belgium)

Maarten de Vos was born in 1532 in Antwerp , where he died December 4, 1603, is a Flemish painter of religious subjects, allegorical, historical and portraits.

He traveled in Italy and adopted the Mannerist style popular at the time. De Vos was also strongly influenced by the colors of Venetian painting. Following the iconoclastic destruction in 1566, he was one of the artists largely responsible for redecorating churches of Antwerp with new altarpieces. His nephew Willem de Vos was also a painter.

He is also the founder of the Society of Romanists , which brought together artists, amateurs and humanist who had visited Rome and enjoyed its humanistic culture. More

Anthony is appealed to against infectious diseases, particularly skin diseases. In the past, many such afflictions, including ergotism, erysipelas, and shingles, were historically referred to as St. Anthony's fire.

David Rijckaert III (Antwerp 1612-1661) 

The Temptation of Saint Anthony 

oil on copper 

60.8 x 88.2 cm.
Anthony was born in Coma (or Koma) near Herakleopolis Magna in Lower Egypt in 251 to wealthy landowner parents. When he was about 18 years old, his parents died and left him with the care of his unmarried sister.

David Ryckaert (1612-1661)

The Temptation Of Saint Anthony

Anthony the Great is considered as "Father of Monasticism". A number of Christian ascetics had retired to isolated locations on the outskirts of cities, but none of them started a spontaneous monastic religious movement.

The Temptation of St. Anthony of Egypt
David III Ryckaert

David Rijckaert III, (2 December 1612 (baptized), Antwerp - 11 November 1661, Antwerp) was a Flemish painter known for his contribution to genre painting, in particular through his scenes of merry companies and peasants. He enjoyed the patronage of prominent patrons and was a painter to the court of the governor of the Southern Netherlands.

David Ryckaert was a pupil of his father. He became master of the Guild of Saint Luke in Antwerp in 1636-37 and was the dean of the Guild in 1652-53. He was the teacher of Hans la Croys, Jacob Lafosse II and Erasmus de Bie.

David Ryckaert III worked his entire career in Antwerp. His work was very well received and one of his patrons was Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria, the Governor of the Southern Netherlands from 1647 until 1656.

Shortly thereafter, he decided to follow the words of Jesus, who had said: "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven; and come, follow Me". Taking these words quite literally, Anthony gave away some of the family estate to his neighbors, sold the remaining property, donated the funds thus raised to the poor, placed his sister with a group of Christian virgins, a sort of proto-monastery of nuns, and himself became the disciple of a local hermit.

The Temptation of St Anthony"
Cornelis Massiys

oil on Canvas.

Cornelis Massijs (1508, Antwerp – c. 1556, unknown), was a Flemish Renaissance painter, draughtsman and engraver, mainly known for his landscapes and, to a lesser extent, genre scenes and portraits. He is regarded as an important figure in the transition from the fantastic landscapes of Joachim Patinir to the 'pure landscapes' of later Netherlandish landscape painting.

He was the son of leading Antwerp painter Quinten Matsys and the younger brother of Jan, who also became a prominent painter. He trained under his father. He was admitted together with his brother Jan, as a master in the Antwerp Guild of St. Luke in 1531, a year after his father's death. In 1544 the brothers were forced to leave Antwerp because of their religious beliefs. Where Cornelis went and whether he ever returned to Antwerp is unknown. There is speculation that Cornelis travelled to England and later to Germany and Italy, but there is no conclusive proof for this. More

The Therapeutae, pagan ascetic hermits and loosely organized cenobitic communities described by the Hellenized Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria in the first century, were long established in the harsh environments by Lake Mareotis close to Alexandria, and in other less-accessible regions.

The Temptation of Saint Anthony - 1897

Lovis Corinth

Lovis Corinth (21 July 1858 – 17 July 1925) was a German painter and printmaker whose mature work realized a synthesis of impressionism and expressionism.

Corinth studied in Paris and Munich, joined the Berlin Secession group, later became the group's president. His early work was naturalistic in approach. Corinth was initially antagonistic towards the expressionist movement, but after a stroke in 1911 his style loosened and took on many expressionistic qualities. His use of color became more vibrant, and he created portraits and landscapes of extraordinary vitality and power. Corinth's subject matter also included nudes and biblical scenes.

Corinth was born Franz Heinrich Louis on 21 July 1858 in Tapiau, in Prussia. The son of a tanner, he displayed a talent for drawing as a child, and in 1876 he went to study painting in the academy of Königsberg. In 1880 he attended the Academy of Fine Art in Munich. There he was influenced by Courbet and the Barbizon school, through their interpretation by the Munich artists Wilhelm Leibl and Wilhelm Trübner. Louis then traveled to Antwerp and then Paris where he studied under William-Adolphe Bouguereau at the Académie Julian. He returned to Königsberg in 1888 when he adopted the name "Lovis Corinth". More

Philo noted that "this class of persons may be met with in many places, for both Greece and barbarian countries want to enjoy whatever is perfectly good.

J. Bosch - circa 1536-1600
The temptation of St Anthony
oil on oak panel
Height: 68.7 cm (27 in). Width: 86.7 cm (34.1 in)

Hyeronimus Bosch

Temptation of St Anthony, c.1500

Oil on Board

131.5 x 119 cm (52 x 47 in) 

Museo National de Arte Antiga, Lisbon

The kneeling figure of St Anthony being tormented by devils. These include a man with a thistle for a head, and a fish that is half gondola. Bizarre and singular as such images seem to us, many would have been familiar to Bosch's contemporaries because they relate to Flemish proverbs and religious terminology. What is so extraordinary is that these imaginary creatures are painted with utter conviction, as though they truly existed. He has invested each bizarre or outlandish creation with the same obvious realism as the naturalistic animal and human elements. His nightmarish images seem to possess an inexplicable surrealistic power. More

Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450 – 9 August 1516) was an Early Netherlandish painter. His work is known for its fantastic imagery, detailed landscapes and illustrations of moral and religious concepts and narratives. Within his lifetime his work was collected in the Netherlands, Austria, and Spain, and widely copied, especially his macabre and nightmarish depictions of hell.

Little is known of Bosch's life, though there are some records. He spent most of it in the town of 's-Hertogenbosch. His pessimistic and fantastical style cast a wide influence on northern art of the 16th century, with Pieter Bruegel the Elder his best known follower. His paintings have been difficult to translate from a modern point of view; attempts to associate instances of modern sexual imagery with fringe sects or the occult have largely failed. Today he is seen as a hugely individualistic painter with deep insight into man's desires and deepest fears. His most acclaimed works consist of a few triptych altarpieces, the most outstanding of which is the Garden of Earthly Delights. More

Saint Anthony decided to follow this tradition and headed out into the alkaline Nitrian Desert region (which became the location of the noted monasteries of Nitria, Kellia and Scetis), about 95 km (59 mi) west of Alexandria, on the edge of the Western Desert. Here he remained for some 13 years.

Matthias Grünewald, 
Inner right wing of the Isenheim Altarpiece
 depicting the Temptation of St. Anthony, 1512-1516 
Distress of the hermit by the demons
oil on panel

Matthias Grünewald spent most of his life in the town of 's-Hertogenbosch, where he was born. His pessimistic and fantastical style cast a wide influence on northern art of the 16th century. Today he is seen as a hugely individualistic painter with deep insight into man's desires and deepest fears. More

Anthony is notable for being one of the first ascetics to attempt living in the desert proper, completely cut off from civilization. His anchoretic lifestyle was remarkably harsher than that of his predecessors. Yet the title of Father of monasticism is merited as he was the inspiration for the coming of hundreds of men and women into the depths of the desert, who were then loosely organized into small communities, especially by his disciple, Macarius.

Temptation of Saint Anthony

Joachim Patinir, ca. 1515-24

A sitting Antonius, with a red book and a rosary in his left hand. Rostrate a demon trying to distract him. His short hook-staff in front of him on the ground. As a European background landscape with chapel and havnestad large church.

Joachim Patinir, (c. 1480 – 5 October 1524), was a Flemish Northern Renaissance history and landscape painter from the area of modern Wallonia.

Originally from Dinant or Bouvignes in present-day Belgium, Wallonia, Patinir became registered as a member of Antwerp's painters’ guild, Guild of Saint Luke, in 1515, where he spent the rest of his life. He may have studied with Gerard David at Bruges, who had been registered as a guild member in the same year as Patinir. In 1511, Patinir is believed to have travelled to Genoa with David and Adrien Ysenbrandt.

In 1521, Patinir’s friend Albrecht Dürer attended his second wedding and painted his portrait. Dürer called Patinir "a good painter of landscapes", thus creating a neologism translated later into the French. Many of his works are unusually large for Netherlandish panel paintings of the time.

According to Athanasius, the devil fought St. Anthony by afflicting him with boredom, laziness, and the phantoms of women, which he overcame by the power of prayer, providing a theme for Christian art. After that, he moved to a tomb, where he resided and closed the door on himself, depending on some local villagers who brought him food. 

The Temptation of St. Anthony 1878

Felicien Rops

When the devil perceived his ascetic life and his intense worship, he was envious and beat him mercilessly, leaving him unconscious. When his friends from the local village came to visit him and found him in this condition, they carried him to a church.

After he recovered, he made a second effort and went back into the desert to a farther mountain by the Nile called Pispir, now Der el Memun, opposite Arsinoe. There he lived strictly enclosed in an old abandoned Roman fort for some twenty years.

Temptation of St Anthony
Felicien Rops

Félicien Rops (7 July 1833 – 23 August 1898) was a Belgian artist, known primarily as a printmaker in etching and aquatint. 

Rops was born in Namur, the only son of Sophie Maubile and Nicholas Rops, who was a textile manufacturer. After his first artistic training at a local academy, he relocated to Brussels at the age of twenty and briefly attended the University of Brussels. He subsequently attended the Académie de Saint-Luc and began creating satirical lithographs which were published in the student magazine Le Crocodile. These and the lithographs he contributed until 1862 to the magazine Uylenspiegel brought him early fame as a caricaturist.

He produced a number of etchings as illustrations for books by Charles de Coster. In 1862 he went to Paris where he met the etchers Félix Bracquemond and Jules Ferdinand Jacquemart. His activity as a lithographer ceased about 1865, and he became a restless experimenter with etching techniques. More

According to Athanasius, the devil again resumed his war against Saint Anthony, only this time the phantoms were in the form of wild beasts, wolves, lions, snakes and scorpions. They appeared as if they were about to attack him or cut him into pieces. But the saint would laugh at them scornfully and say, "If any of you have any authority over me, only one would have been sufficient to fight me." At his saying this, they disappeared as though in smoke. 

Paul Delaroche

The temptation of St. Anthony c.1832

20 x 16 cm

This tiny painting – just 20 x 16 cm – transmits a powerful message. It depicts Saint Anthony Abbot, also known as Saint Anthony of Egypt, overcoming temptation. Beautiful naked women vie for his attention whilst he raises his arms and eyes heavenward. More

Paul Delaroche (17 July 1797 – 4 November 1856), was a French painter. He was trained by Antoine-Jean, Baron Gros, who was painting life-size historical subjects and had many students.

The first Delaroche picture exhibited was the large Jehosheba saving Joash (1822). This exhibition led to his acquaintance with Théodore Géricault and Eugène Delacroix, with whom he formed the core of a large group of Parisian historical painters. He visited Italy in 1838 and 1843, when his father-in-law, Horace Vernet, was director of the French Academy in Rome. In 1845, he was elected into the National Academy of Design, New York, as an Honorary Academician.

He was born, worked, and died in Paris. His studio was in the rue Mazarin. His subjects were painted with a firm, solid, smooth surface, which gave an appearance of the highest finish. This texture was the manner of the day. Among his students were British landscape artist Henry Mark Anthony, British history painters Edward Armitage and Charles Lucy, and American painter/photographer Alfred L. Boisseau (1823–1901). More

This is attributed as a victory granted by God. While in the fort he only communicated with the outside world by a crevice through which food would be passed and he would say a few words. Saint Anthony would prepare a quantity of bread that would sustain him for six months. He did not allow anyone to enter his cell; whoever came to him stood outside and listened to his advice.

Then one day he emerged from the fort with the help of villagers to break down the door. By this time most had expected him to have wasted away, or to have gone insane in his solitary confinement. Instead, he emerged healthy, serene and enlightened. Everyone was amazed that he had been through these trials and emerged spiritually rejuvenated. He was hailed as a hero and from this time forth the legend of Anthony began to spread and grow.

Fantin Latour 

The Temptation of St Anthony

Oil on canvas
Height: 635 mm (25 in). Width: 835 mm (32.87 in).

Henri Fantin-Latour (14 January 1836 – 25 August 1904) was a French painter and lithographer best known for his flower paintings and group portraits of Parisian artists and writers. He was born Ignace Henri Jean Théodore Fantin-Latour in Grenoble, Isère. As a youth, he received drawing lessons from his father, who was an artist. In 1850 he entered the Ecole de Dessin, where he studied with Lecoq de Boisbaudran. After studying at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1854, he devoted much time to copying the works of the old masters in the Musée du Louvre. Although Fantin-Latour befriended several of the young artists who would later be associated with Impressionism, including Whistler and Manet, Fantin's own work remained conservative in style.

Whistler brought attention to Fantin in England, where his still-lifes sold so well that they were "practically unknown in France during his lifetime". In addition to his realistic paintings, Fantin-Latour created imaginative lithographs inspired by the music of some of the great classical composers. More

Anthony went to the Fayyum and confirmed the brethren there in the Christian faith, then returned to his old Roman fort. In 311, Anthony wished to become a martyr and went to Alexandria. He visited those who were imprisoned for the sake of Christ and comforted them.

When the Governor saw that he was confessing his Christianity publicly, not caring what might happen to him, he ordered him not to show up in the city. However, the Saint did not heed his threats. He faced him and argued with him in order that he might arouse his anger so that he might be tortured and martyred, but it did not happen.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Temptations of St Anthony
Oil on Canvas
40 x 47 cm
Gallery: Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan, Italy

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (March 5, 1696 – March 27, 1770), was an Italian painter and printmaker from the Republic of Venice. He was prolific, and worked not only in Italy, but also in Germany and Spain.

Successful from the beginning of his career, he has been described as "the greatest decorative painter of eighteenth-century Europe, as well as its most able craftsman. More

He left Alexandria to return to the old Roman fort upon the end of the persecutions. Here, many came to visit him and to hear his teachings. He saw that these visits kept him away from his worship. As a result, he went further into the Eastern Desert of Egypt. He travelled to the inner wilderness for three days, until he found a spring of water and some palm trees, and then he chose to settle there. Disciples soon started to come to him to seek spiritual teaching. A trickle became a flood, and soon they numbered in the hundreds. On this spot now stands the monastery of Saint Anthony the Great.

Jacopo Comin - Tintoretto

The Temptation of St Anthony c.1577

Oil on Canvas

282 x 165 cm

Gallery: San Trovaso, Venice

Tintoretto (October, 1518[1] – May 31, 1594) was an Italian painter and a notable exponent of the Renaissance school. For his phenomenal energy in painting he was termed Il Furioso. His work is characterized by its muscular figures, dramatic gestures, and bold use of perspective in the Mannerist style, while maintaining color and light typical of the Venetian School. More

There, he anticipated the rule of Benedict of Nursia who lived about 200 years later; "pray and work", by engaging himself and his disciple or disciples in manual labor. Anthony himself cultivated a garden and wove mats of rushes. He and his disciples were regularly sought out for words of enlightenment. These statements were later collected into the book of Sayings of the Desert Fathers. Anthony himself is said to have spoken to those of a spiritual disposition personally, leaving the task of addressing the more worldly visitors to Macarius. On occasions, he would go to the monastery on the outskirts of the desert by the Nile to visit the brethren, then return to his inner monastery.

Sebastiano Ricci - BELLUNO 1659 - 1734 VENICE


oil on canvas

25 by 38 3/4  in.; 63.5 by 98.5 cm

Sebastiano Ricci (1 August 1659 – 15 May 1734) was an Italian painter of the late Baroque school of Venice. He was born in Belluno. In 1671, he was apprenticed to Federico Cervelli of Venice. In 1678, a youthful indiscretion led to an unwanted pregnancy, and ultimately to a greater scandal, when Ricci was accused of attempting to poison the young woman to avoid marriage. He was imprisoned, and released only after the intervention of a nobleman. He married the pregnant mother in 1691, although this was a stormy union.

Following his release he moved to Bologna. His painting style there was apparently influenced by Giovanni Gioseffo dal Sole. 

In 1688, Ricci abandoned his wife and daughter, and fled from Bologna to Turin with the daughter of the painter Giovanni Peruzzini. He was again imprisoned, and nearly executed, but was eventually freed by the intercession of the Duke of Parma. In 1692, he was commissioned to copy the Coronation of Charlemagne by Raphael in Vatican City, on behalf of Louis XIV, a task he finished only by 1694. The death of the Duke Ranuccio in December, 1694, who was also his protector, forced Ricci to abandon Rome for Milan. On 22 June 1697, the Count Giacomo Durini hired him to paint in the Cathedral of Monza.

In 1698, he returned to the Venetian republic for a decade. By 24 August 1700, he had frescoed the chapel of the Santissimo Sacramento in the church of Santa Giustina of Padua. More 

The backstory of one of the surviving epistles, directed to Constantine I, recounts how the fame of Saint Anthony spread abroad and reached Emperor Constantine. The Emperor wrote to him offering praise and requesting prayers. The brethren were pleased with the Emperor's letter, but Anthony did not pay any attention to it, and he said to them, "The books of God, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, commands us every day, but we do not heed what they tell us, and we turn our backs on them." Under the persistence of the brethren who told him "Emperor Constantine loves the church", he accepted to write him a letter blessing him, and praying for the peace and safety of the empire and the church.

The temptation of St. Anthony 

According to Athanasius, Saint Anthony heard a voice telling him "Go out and see." He went out and saw an angel who wore a girdle with a cross, one resembling the holy Eskiem (Tonsure or Schema), and on his head was a head cover (Kolansowa). He was sitting while braiding palm leaves, then he stood up to pray, and again he sat to weave. A voice came to him saying, "Anthony, do this and you will rest." Henceforth, he started to wear this tunic that he saw, and began to weave palm leaves, and never was bored again.

Salvador Dali

The Temptation of St. Anthony 1946

oil on canvas

89.7 x 119.5 cm

Musée Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium

When Saint Anthony felt that the day of his departure had approached, he instructed his disciples to bury his body in an unmarked, secret grave.

Acknowledgment: Wikipedia

Thursday, June 25, 2015

25 Paintings by the Old Masters! The Legend Of Semiramis

Christian Köhler,
Semiramis, 1852,

Oil on canvas
According to the legend, Semiramis was of noble parents, the daughter of the fish-goddess Derketo of Ascalon in Syria and a mortal. Derketo abandoned her at birth and drowned herself. Doves fed the child until Simmas, the royal shepherd, found and raised her.

She then married Onnes or Menones, one of Ninus' generals. At the time, King Ninus besieged, in vain, Bactria, and might have been forced to withdraw without the guidance and courage to Semiramis. She found a way to break into the citadel and to take it; she herself boldly executed the plan she had conceived, and gave Ninus the city where he found immense treasures. 

Ninus was so struck by her bravery at the capture of Bactra that he tried to compel Onnes to "yield her to him of his own accord, offering in return for this favor to give him his own daughter Sonanê to wife." When Onnes refused to exchange his wife for the king's daughter, Ninus "threatened to put out his eyes unless he at once acceded to his commands."

Onnes, out of fear of the king, and out of doomed passion for his wife, "fell into a kind of frenzy and madness," and hanged himself. Ninus then married her.

After Guido Reni (1575 - 1642)
Semiramis and Ninus

She and Ninus had a son named Ninyas. After King Ninus conquered Asia, including the Bactrians, he was fatally wounded by an arrow. Semiramis then masqueraded as her son and tricked her late husband's army into following her instructions because they thought these came from their new ruler. After Ninus's death she reigned as queen regnant for 42 years, conquering much of Asia.

Guido Reni (4 November 1575 – 18 August 1642)[1] was an Italian painter of high-Baroque style. Born in Bologna into a family of musicians, Guido Reni was the son of Daniele Reni and Ginevra de’ Pozzi. As a child of nine, he was apprenticed under the Bolognese studio of Denis Calvaert. Soon after, he was joined in that studio by Albani and Domenichino. When Reni was about twenty years old, the three Calvaert pupils migrated to the rising rival studio, named Accademia degli Incamminati (Academy of the "newly embarked", or progressives), led by Lodovico Carracci. They went on to form the nucleus of a prolific and successful school of Bolognese painters who followed Annibale Carracci to Rome. Like many other Bolognese painters, Reni's painting was thematic and eclectic in style. More

Semiramis and her son Ninias
Woodcut illustration
printed by Johannes Zainer at Ulm ca. 147

Semiramis' Rule

Ninus' tomb

She restored ancient Babylon and protected it with a high brick wall that completely surrounded the city. Then she built several palaces in Persia, including Ecbatana. Diodorus also attributes the Behistun inscription to her, now known to have been done under Darius I of Persia. She not only reigned Asia effectively but also added Libya and Aethiopia to the empire. 

Pierre Bellet (1865–1924
oil on canvas, signed in 1892

Semiramis Called to War
Jacques Stella, 1637, 
oil on slate, 
36.1 x 53.5 cm

Jacques Stella (1596 - 29 April 1657) was a French painter. He was born in Lyon. His father was François Stella, a painter and merchant of Flemish origin, but he died too soon to train Jacques in painting. Jacques Stella trained in Lyon before spending the period from 1616 to 1621 in the court of Cosimo II de Medici in Florence, working alongside Jacques Callot. In 1621 Stella moved to Rome, where he spent the next 10 years and won a reputation thanks to his paintings, small engravings and painted work on stones (onyx, lapis-lazuli or simply slate). Particularly working for pope Urban VIII, Stella was influenced in Rome by classicism and more specifically by the art of Nicolas Poussin, with whom he became an intimate friend.

Returning to Lyon in 1634 before moving to Paris a year later, Stella was presented to Louis XIII by cardinal Richelieu. The king made him peintre du roi  and granted him a pension of 1000 livres. He returned many times to the theme of the childhood of Christ - five different versions by him of "Jesus discovered by his parents in the temple" exist. From 1644 he took part in the decoration of the Palais-Cardinal. Towards the end of his life he devoted himself more and more to drawing. More

She then went to war with king Stabrobates of India, having her artisans create an army of false elephants to deceive the Indians into thinking she had acquired real elephants. This succeeded at first, but then she was wounded in the counterattack and her army again retreated west of the Indus. 

Armenian tradition portrays her as a homewrecker and a harlot. These facts are partly to be explained by observing that, according to the legends, in her birth as well as in her disappearance from earth, Semiramis appears as a goddess, the daughter of the fish-goddess Atargatis, and herself connected with the doves of Ishtar or Astartë.

Semiramis staring at the corpse of Ara the Beautiful.
Painting by Vardges Sureniants (1860-1921)
Vardges Sureniants (Armenian: 27 February 1860 – 6 April 1921) was an Armenian painter, sculptor, illustrator, translator, art critic, and theater artist. He is considered the founder of Armenian historical painting. His paintings feature scenes from Armenian fairy-tales and various historical events. Although Sureniants had one exhibition dedicated to his works in his lifetime, he was admired by many of his contemporaries which include many well-known figures in Russian and Armenian society including Martiros Saryan, Ilya Repin, and Vladimir Stasov. More

According to the legend, Semiramis had heard about the fame of the handsome Armenian king Ara. Semiramis was enamored with Ara's vigorous physical power and so sought to consummate with him. She asked Ara to marry her, but he refused; upon hearing this, she gathered the armies of Assyria and marched against Armenia.

During the battle, Ara was slain by Semiramis. To avoid continuous warfare with the Armenians, Semiramis, reputed to be a sorceress, took his body and prayed to the gods to raise Ara from the dead. When the Armenians advanced to avenge their leader, she disguised one of her lovers as Ara and spread the rumor that the gods had brought Ara back to life, ending the war.   More

She had a new statue erected to the gods and offered them many sacrifices for saving Ara. The people believed that Ara was revived, and Semiramis was saved from another battle waged against her.

In order to eternalize her love for Ara, she named his son Karthos after him, who was born from his wife Nuvard and aged twelve at the time. Although he was so young, she made him ruler of Armenia. More

Despite all her splendid achievements Semiramis would not be satisfied until she had added to her empire by a victorious war. As the only unconquered country in Western Asia was India.

She not only reigned Asia effectively but also added Libya and Aethiopia to the empire. She then went to war with king Stabrobates of India, having her artisans create an army of false elephants to deceive the Indians into thinking she had acquired real elephants. This succeeded at first, but then she was wounded in the counterattack and her army again retreated west of the Indus. More

Flemish tapestry
Queen Semiramis and her servants
c. 1480 CE
Honolulu Academy of Arts

Semiramis, who was both Nimrod's wife and Tammuz’ mother, was worshiped as the "mother of god" and a "fertility goddess" because she had to be extremely fertile to give birth to all the pagan incarnate gods that represented Nimrod. Where Nimrod is the "sun god", Semiramis is the "moon goddess'. She was worshiped throughout the world by each of the titles associated with Nimrod's worship. For instance, the respective Greek and Roman names applied to the worship of Semiramis include: Aphrodite and Venus, the goddess of love; Artemis and Diana, the goddess of hunting and childbirth; Athena and Minerva, the goddess of crafts, war and wisdom; Demeter and Ceres, the goddess of growing things; Gaea and Terra, symbol of the fertile earth; Hera and Juno, the protector of marriage and women, who was the sister and wife of Zeus in Greek mythology, and the wife of Jupiter in Roman mythology; Hestia and Vesta, the goddess of the hearth; plus Rhea or Ops, who was wife and sister of the Greek horned-god Kronos. 

Edgar Degas 1861
Semiramis Building Babylon
Oil on canvas, 151 x 258 cm
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

In spite of her cleverness, though, she also sowed the seeds of her own destruction. As she raised her son, she imbued him with divinity in the eyes of the priests and people as the means of retaining control as the divine mother without seeming to aggrandize herself. As Damu grew he became used to having every whim instantly gratified by a subservient, indeed groveling, populace. For safety's sake he had a personal bodyguard/companion group which he was never without, and which formed an elite corps of soldiery loyal and accountable to him alone. Upon coming to maturity and demanding of his mother to be installed as king, she not only refused him this--but, seeing him now as a challenge to her rule, slated him for the same death she had meted to his father. Damu caught on to her scheme, and pre-empted his "assumption" by slaying his mother with his own sword, and putting down any priestly protests by purging the hierarchy of all who would not vow allegiance to him. Thus Semiramis died after reigning as queen over Babylon for 102 years. More

The Oath of Semiramis
by Pietro da Cortona
Oil on copper, 51.2 x 70.7 cm
Collection: The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

Semiramis, queen of Babylon, is interrupted while dressing, by a messenger telling her of a rebellion; she takes a solemn oath to abandon her toilette until peace is restored. Her hair is undone and she prepares to take up weapons.

Pietro da Cortona (1 November 1596/7 – 16 May 1669) was born Pietro Berrettini, but is primarily known by the name of his native town of Cortona in Tuscany. He was the leading Italian Baroque painter of his time and, along with his contemporaries and rivals Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini, was one of the key figures in the emergence of Roman Baroque architecture. He was also an important designer of interior decorations.

Cortona worked mainly in Rome and Florence. He is best known for his frescoed ceilings such as the vault of the salone or main salon of the Palazzo Barberini in Rome and carried out extensive painting and decorative schemes for the Medici family in Florence and for the Oratorian fathers at the church of Santa Maria in Vallicella in Rome. He also painted numerous canvases. Only a limited number of his architectural projects were built but nonetheless they are as distinctive and as inventive as those of his rivals. More

Legend has it that after Semiramis died, she ascended into heaven and was returned to earth inside a large egg which fell into the Euphrates river. The egg was pushed ashore by a dove and she emerged from the egg as Astarte or Ishtar (in English, Easter)  More

This hand-coloured engraving, by Martin Heemskerck, probably made in the 19th century after the first excavations in the Assyrian capitals, depicts the fabled Hanging Gardens, with the Tower of Babel in the background More
Ancient Greeks and Persians believed her to be the legendary queen of king Ninus of Babylon, who oversaw the building of the Hanging Gardens, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. More

Rene-Antoine Houasse, 1676 CE, 
Semiramis and Nebuchadnezzar Build the Gardens of Babylon
Palace of Versailles

H. Waldeck,
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
oil on canvas, 
94.5 x 174 cm

H WALDECK he was born in Essen, Germany, in 1928. From 1943 to 1945 he attended the Federal Acadamy for Master

Guercino (1591–1666)
Semiramis Called to Arms. 1645

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (February 8, 1591 – December 22, 1666), best known as Guercino, or Il Guercino, was an Italian Baroque painter and draftsman from the region of Emilia, and active in Rome and Bologna. The vigorous naturalism of his early manner is in contrast to the classical equilibrium of his later works. His many drawings are noted for their luminosity and lively style. More

Matteo Rosselli
oil on Canvas
68 7/8x86 1/4in

Matteo Rosselli was an Italian Baroque Era Painter, 1578-1650. An influential artist of the early 17th century in Florence, he is described by the early sources as being of a gentle disposition and as a dedicated and dignified painter, although he lacked originality and power. His work is characterized by the simplicity, descriptive naturalism and refined colour of the Counter-Reformation art created by such Tuscan artists as Santi di Tito, Bernardino Poccetti, Lodovico Cigoli and Domenico Passignano, yet he was also responsive to Venetian and Emilian art. He received his early education in Gregorio Pagani's studio, which he attended from as early as 1587. His initial inclination was towards classical and balanced compositions, in which the influence of Andrea del Sarto, whose frescoes he copied in the Chiostro dello Scalzo, is clear. On 26 February 1599 he was admitted to the Accademia del Disegno and in 1605 went to be with Passignano in Rome for six months, greatly enriching his artistic experiences through this contact. He returned to Florence in the same year and, on Pagani's death (1605), completed his master's unfinished works with great success. Pagani's influence can be seen in the bright colours of Rosselli's Adoration of the Magi. More

Andrea del Michieli, called Vicentino - VICENZA 1542-1617 VENEZIA
Pen and brown ink and wash over black chalk;
S.V. no. 147 
190 by 282 mm

This work bears inscription in brown ink, left: Semiramis, and in another hand (possibly the artist's), right margin: M. Benedetto andrea vicentino/Passa....sta enchontro il largo della Farina; bears old attribution in ink, lower left: And.a Vicentin; bears inscription in ink, verso. 

Semiramis, the beautiful Queen of Babylon, is depicted combing her hair, at the moment when a messenger enters the room to announce that the city is in revolt.  She promptly interrupted her toilette and rushed out to quell the rebellion.  More

Andrea Michieli or Michielli , better known as Andrea Vicentino ( Vicenza , 1542 about - Venice , 15 May 1618 ) was an  Italian painter of the Republic of Venice , the period late- Renaissance and Mannerist .

A pupil of Giovanni Battista Maganza , he moved to Venice in the mid- seventies of the sixteenth century by registering the guild of painters in 1583 . He worked together with Tintoretto at Palazzo Ducale , where he contributed to ' Arrival of Henry III in Venice ( 1593 ca.) at the Hall of the Four Doors. More

Adriaen Backer
Semiramis Receives Word of the Uprising in Babylon (1669).

Photo credit: Wikipedia.
Adriaen Backer (ca 1635, Amsterdam — buried 23 May 1684, Amsterdam) was a Dutch Golden Age portrait painter, active in Amsterdam and Haarlem. He was born in Amsterdam. Adriaen probably learned to paint from his uncle Jacob Adriaensz Backer. In 1666 he traveled to Italy with Dirck Ferreris. In December 1667 he was back in Amsterdam and a witness when his brother Jacob married.

Backer married Elsje Colyn on August 27, 1669 and the couple had two sons, who both died very young. Backer lived on Spui, behind Begijnhof, Amsterdam. Christoffel Lubienitski was his pupil and learned to paint portraits from him.

Backer produced several group portraits of Hofje regents as well as historical allegories for city commissions. According to Houbraken his Last Judgement hanging in the court room (vierschaar) of the Amsterdam City Hall (now called the Amsterdam Royal Palace) was one of his best works. More

Tischbein the Elder, Johann Heinrich
Semiramis receives the news of the Babylonian revolt
Oil on canvas
73 x 56 cm.

Johann Heinrich Tischbein the Elder, called the Kasseler, (3 October 1722 – 22 August 1789) was one of the most respected European painters in the 18th century and an important member of the Tischbein dynasty of German painters, which spanned four generations.

His work consisted primarily of portraits of the nobility, mythology scenes, and historical paintings. For his mythology paintings he mostly resorted to models of the highest aristocracy.

William de Leftwich Dodge
Semiramide, Act I scene xi. 
Illustration for The Great Operas edited by James W Buel 
Large lithograph.

William de Leftwich Dodge (1867–1935) was an American artist best known for his murals, which were commissioned for both public and private buildings. Dodge was born at Liberty, Virginia. In 1879, his mother, Mary de Leftwich Dodge, an aspiring artist, moved her family to Europe. After living initially in Munich they moved to Paris, where she worked on art. Dodge later followed her example and became an artist. He spent most of his childhood years in France. He studied at the École des Beaux Arts and took first place in the examinations in 1881. He also studied under Jean-Léon Gérôme and with Raphaël Collin at the Académie Colarossi, and traveled to Munich for studies there. More

Scene from the tragedy of Semiramis by Voltaire
Louis Jean Desprez

Louis Jean Desprez (occasionally but incorrectly Jean Louis Desprez) ca 1743–18 March 1804 was a French painter and architect who worked in Sweden during the last twenty years of his life. Desprez, who was born in Auxerre in Bourgogne, studied architecture and was awarded the Great Prize of the Académie d'architecture in 1770. He traveled frequently to Italy and was associated with Piranesi in Rome, when he came to the attention of Swedish King Gustavus III, who offered him a two-year contract as director of scenic decorations at the new Stockholm Opera founded by the King two years earlier. 

As an architect, Desprez designed in a monumental, neoclassical style influenced by his study of Greek and Roman ruins in the south of Italy and in Sicily.His greatest project was one never realized: the magnificent new palace planned by the King for the Haga Park outside Stockholm. Because of lack of money, only the foundations were ever built and the project was abandoned after the assassination of the King. His most significant completed project was the conservatory building in the new botanical garden in Uppsala, inaugurated after his death on May 13, 1807. More

Abraham van Diepenbeeck (1596–1675)
Story of Semiramis.1627-1638

Abraham van Diepenbeeck (9 May 1596 (baptised) - May-Sept. 1675) was an erudite and accomplished Dutch painter of the Flemish School. After having received a classical education, he became a pupil and assistant of Peter Paul Rubens. He handled mythological and historical subjects, as well as portraits, with great skill and vigor and was a good, sound colourist. He went to Antwerp about 1629 and made his first successes in painting on glass, among his productions being windows in the cathedral there representing the "Acts of Mercy". Similar work at the church of the Dominicans. Van Diepenbeek was admitted to the guild of painters in 1638, and became director of the academy in 1641. It was after a visit to Italy that the artist began to paint chiefly in oil and to illustrate. Among his illustrations are fifty-eight designs engraved by Cornelis Bloemaert for the Abbe de Marolles' "Tableaux du Temple des Muses". During the reign of Charles I of England, van Diepenbeeck was in England where, besides painting portraits of the first Duke of Newcastle and his family, the artist illustrated that nobleman's book on "Horsemanship". He died, aged 79, in Antwerp. More

Demetre Chiparus (1886-1947)

The Slave Woman [The Queen of Babylon]