Monday, July 11, 2016

28 Paintings, Olympian deities in classical Hellenic Mythology, with footnotes 3

Vasily Alexandrovich Kotarbinsky, 1849-1921
MEDUSA, c. 1903
Oil on canvas
211 by 112.5cm, 83 by 44 1/4 in.

In Greek mythology Medusa was a monster, a Gorgon, generally described as a winged human female with a hideous face and living venomous snakes in place of hair. Gazers on her face would turn to stone. She lived and died on an island named Sarpedon, somewhere near Cisthene. The 2nd-century BCE novelist Dionysios Skytobrachion puts her somewhere in Libya, where Herodotus had said the Berbers originated her myth, as part of their religion. More

Wilhelm Kotarbiński (born 30 November 1848, Nieborów; died 4 September 1921, Kiev) was a Polish Symbolist painter of historical and fantastical subjects who spent most of his working life in Ukraine. He began his studies at the Warsaw School of Art from 1867 to 1871. Afterward, he enrolled at the University of Warsaw, urged on by his parents who were opposed to an artistic career, but stayed for only a short time before borrowing money from his uncle and moving to Italy. The following year, he was able to arrange a stipend from the Imperial Society for the Encouragement of the Arts and enrolled at the Accademia di San Luca, where he studied with Francesco Podesti until 1875, living in poverty and barely surviving a case of typhoid.

Wilhelm Kotarbiński (1848–1921)
Dice game in old ROME
Oil on canvas
44.3 x 67 cm

Roman people played most of the different kinds of games that people play today. The most common games were probably dice games, where you threw the dice and bet on the results. These were essentially gambling games. More

After graduating, with more help from the Imperial Society, he was able to set up his own studio in Rome and held his first solo exhibition. His first commission came from the art critic Vladimir Stasov, who engaged him to copy a 14th-century manuscript from the Vatican Museums. He soon acquired many wealthy customers. His long sojourn in Rome was pivotal in his artistic education and informed his choice of mythical and classical subjects and motifs for much of his career. 

Vasily Alexandrovich Kotarbinsky, 1849-1921
Oil on canvas
165.5 by 220cm, 65 by 86 1/2 in.

In ancient Greek religion, orgia were ecstatic rites characteristic of the Greek and Hellenistic mystery religions. Unlike public religion, or the private religious practices of a household, the mysteries were open only to initiates, and were thus "secret". Some rites were held at night. Orgia were part of the Eleusinian Mysteries, the Dionysian Mysteries, and the cult of Cybele, which involved the castration of her priests in a frenzied trance. Because of their secret, nocturnal, and unscripted nature, the orgia were subject to prurient speculation and regarded with suspicion, particularly by the Romans, who attempted to suppress the Bacchanals in 186 BC. Orgia are popularly thought to have involved sex, but, while sexuality and fertility were cultic concerns, the primary goal of the orgia was to achieve an ecstatic union with the divine. More

In 1888, he left Italy to go to Kiev and work on an upcoming project, and began painting in the local churches. Although he was Catholic, he did decorative work at the Orthodox St Volodymyr's Cathedral from 1889 to 1894. Under the supervision of Adrian Prakhov, an expert on old Russian and Byzantine art, he worked on 84 individual figures and 18 full paintings, including a large painting of the transfiguration of Christ. 

In 1890, he joined the Union of South Russian Artists and, in 1893, together with Jan Stanisławski and others, founded the Society of Kiev Painters. He was named an Academician of the Imperial Academy in 1905. More

Thomas Couture,  (1815-1879)
Romans during the Decadence, c. 1847
Oil on canvas
H. 472; W. 772 cm
Paris, Musée d'Orsay

Thomas Couture (21 December 1815 – 30 March 1879) was an influential French history painter and teacher. He taught such later luminaries of the art world as Édouard Manet, Henri Fantin-Latour, John La Farge, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Karel Javůrek, and J-N Sylvestre.

Couture was born at Senlis, Oise, France. When he was 11, his family moved to Paris, where he would study at the industrial arts school (École des Arts et Métiers) and later at the École des Beaux-Arts. He failed the prestigious Prix de Rome competition at the École six times, but he felt the problem was with the École, not himself. Couture finally did win the prize in 1837.

Couture, Thomas (1815-1879)
Timon of Athens, c. 1857
Oil on canvas
19 x 24 
Wallace Collection, London

Timon of Athens, is a play by William Shakespeare, published in the First Folio (1623). It is about the fortunes of an Athenian named Timon. The central character is a well beloved citizen of Athens who through tremendous generosity spends his entire fortunes on corrupt hangers-on only interested in getting the next payout. Timon of Athens was originally grouped with the tragedies. More

In 1840, he began exhibiting historical and genre pictures at the Paris Salon, earning several medals for his works, in particular for his masterpiece, Romans During the Decadence (1847). Shortly after this success, Couture opened an independent atelier meant to challenge the École des Beaux-Arts by turning out the best new history painters.

Thomas Couture (1815–1879)
The Fugitive, Study for Timon of Athens, between 1855 and 1859
Oil on canvas
65.7 × 84.8 cm (25.9 × 33.4 in)
Brooklyn Museum

Couture's innovative technique gained much attention, and he received Government and Church commissions for murals during the late 1840s through the 1850s. In 1860 he left Paris, for a time returning to his hometown of Senlis, where he continued to teach young artists who came to him. In 1867, he thumbed his nose at the academic establishment by publishing a book on his own ideas and working methods called Méthode et entretiens d'atelier (Method and Workshop Interviews). 

Thomas Couture (1815–1879)
A Miser, study for Timon of Athens, c 1876
Oil on canvas
24” inches wide by 30” 

In 1879, he died at Villiers-le-Bel, Val-d'Oise, and was interred in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris. More

Thomas Couture (1815–1879)
Nu. Study for Timon of Athens, between 1815 and 1879
On canvas
H. 0.815; L. 0655
Museum of Fine Arts, Reims, France

Nathaniel Dance-Holland, (1735–1811)
The Meeting of Dido and Aeneas
Oil on canvas

Dido and Aeneas is an opera in a prologue and three acts, written by the English Baroque composer Henry Purcell with a libretto by Nahum Tate. The story is based on Book IV of Virgil's Aeneid. It recounts the love of Dido, Queen of Carthage, for the Trojan hero Aeneas, and her despair when he abandons her. More

Sir Nathaniel Dance-Holland, 1st Baronet RA (8 May 1735 – 15 October 1811) was a notable English portrait painter and later a politician. The third son of architect George Dance the Elder, he studied art under Francis Hayman, and like many contemporaries also studied in Italy. There he met Angelica Kauffman (see below), and painted several historic and classical paintings.

On his return to England, he became a successful portrait painter. With Hayman and his architect brother George Dance the Younger, he was one of the founder members of the Royal Academy in 1768.

He was commissioned to paint King George III and his queen, plus Captain James Cook and actor David Garrick. His group portrait The Pybus Family (1769) is in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.

In 1790, he gave up his artistic career and became Member of Parliament for East Grinstead in Sussex. He served this seat until 1802 when he moved to Great Bedwyn, serving until 1806. In 1807 he returned to East Grinstead, serving until his death in 1811. He was made a baronet in 1800, which became extinct upon his death. More

Angelica Kauffman
Zeuxis Selecting Models for His Painting of Helen of Troy,  c. 1778

Maria Anna Angelika Kauffmann RA (30 October 1741 – 5 November 1807) was painter in the early Neoclassical style who is best known for her decorative wall paintings for residences designed by Robert Adam.

Angelica was a precocious child and a talented musician and painter by her 12th year. Her early paintings were influenced by the French Rococo works of Henri Gravelot and François Boucher. In 1754 and 1763 she visited Italy, and while in Rome she was influenced by the Neoclassicism of Anton Raphael Mengs.

Angelica Kauffman (1741–1807)
Venus convinces Helen to go with Paris, c. 1790
Oil on canvas
102 × 127.5 cm (40.2 × 50.2 in)
Eremitage, St. Petersburg

The romance of Helen, queen of the Greek city state Sparta, and Paris, a Trojan prince. The location of the present scene is Cythera, an island dedicated to Aphrodite (better known by her Roman name Venus), goddess of love. It was in the temple of Aphrodite that Paris and Helen met and he convinces her to come away with him to his home city of Troy.

She was induced by Lady Wentworth, wife of the English ambassador, to accompany her to London in 1766. She was well received and was particularly favoured by the royal family. Sir Joshua Reynolds became a close friend, and most of the numerous portraits and self-portraits done in her English period were influenced by his style of portrait painting. Her name is found among the signatories to the petition for the establishment of the Royal Academy, and in its first catalogue of 1769 she is listed as a member. Kauffmann retired to Rome in the early 1780s with her second husband, the Venetian painter Antonio Zucchi. More

Théodore Chassériau
The Tepidarium, c. 1853
"room where the women of Pompeii came to rest and dry after bathing"
Oil on canvas
H. 1.71; L. 2.58
Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France

Théodore Chassériau (September 20, 1819 – October 8, 1856) was a French Romantic painter noted for his portraits, historical and religious paintings, allegorical murals, and Orientalist images inspired by his travels to Algeria.

Chassériau was born in El Limón, Samaná, in the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo (now the Dominican Republic). In December 1820 the family left Santo Domingo for Paris, where the young Chassériau soon showed precocious drawing skills. He was accepted into the studio of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres in 1830, at the age of eleven, and became the favorite pupil of the great classicist, who regarded him as his truest disciple.

Théodore Chassériau
The Tepidarium, c. 1853

After Ingres left Paris in 1834 to become director of the French Academy in Rome, Chassériau fell under the influence of Eugène Delacroix, whose brand of painterly colorism was anathema to Ingres. Chassériau's art has often been characterized as an attempt to reconcile the classicism of Ingres with the romanticism of Delacroix. He first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1836, and was awarded a third-place medal in the category of history painting. In 1840 Chassériau travelled to Rome and met with Ingres, whose bitterness at the direction his student's work was taking led to a decisive break.

Théodore Chassériau
The Tepidarium, c. 1853

In 1846 Chassériau made his first trip to Algeria. From sketches made on this and subsequent trips he painted such subjects as Arab Chiefs Visiting Their Vassals and Jewish Women on a Balcony...

After a period of ill health, exacerbated by his exhausting work on commissions for murals to decorate the Churches of Saint-Roch and Saint-Philippe-du-Roule, Chassériau died at the age of 37 in Paris, on October 8, 1856. More

Benjamin Robert Haydon (Plymouth 1786-1846 London)
Perseus and Andromeda 
oil on canvas
106.7 x 163.5cm (42 x 64 3/8in).

In Greek mythology, Andromeda is the daughter of the Aethiopian king Cepheus and his wife Cassiopeia. When Cassiopeia's hubris leads her to boast that Andromeda is more beautiful than the Nereids, Poseidon sends a sea monster, Cetus, to ravage Aethiopia as divine punishment. Andromeda is stripped and chained naked to a rock as a sacrifice to sate the monster, but is saved from death by Perseus. More

Benjamin Robert Haydon (26 January 1786 – 22 June 1846) was an English painter who specialised in grand historical pictures, although he also painted a few contemporary subjects and portraits. His commercial success was damaged by his often tactless dealings with patrons, and by the enormous scale on which he preferred to work. He was troubled by financial problems throughout his life, which led to several periods of imprisonment for debt. He committed suicide in 1846. More

Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky, 1839-1915
Charon transfers the souls of deads over the Styx river, c. 1861

Charon is the ferryman of Hades who carries souls of the newly deceased across the rivers Styx and Acheron that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. More

The Greek underworld, in mythology, is an otherworld where souls go after death, and is the original Greek idea of afterlife. At the moment of death the soul is separated from the corpse, taking on the shape of the former person, and is transported to the entrance of the Underworld.The Underworld itself is described as being either at the outer bounds of the ocean or beneath the depths or ends of the earth. It is considered the dark counterpart to the brightness of Mount Olympus, and is the kingdom of the dead that corresponds to the kingdom of the gods. Hades is a realm invisible to the living, made solely for the dead

The Styx is generally considered to be one of the most prominent and central rivers of the Underworld and is also the most widely known out of all the rivers. It's known as the river of hatred and is named after the goddess Styx. This river circles the underworld seven times. More

Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky, 1839-1915
Spring Bacchanalia, c. 1891

Konstantin Yegorovich Makovsky (June 20 1839 — September 17 1915) was an influential Russian painter, affiliated with the "Peredvizhniki (Wanderers)", a group of Russian realist artists who formed an artists' cooperative in protest of academic restrictions. Many of his historical paintings, such as The Russian Bride's Attire (1889), showed an idealized view of Russian life of prior centuries. He is often considered a representative of a Salon art.

In 1851 Makovsky entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture where he became the top student, easily getting all the available awards. Although art was his passion, he also considered that his mother had wanted him to be a music composer. He set off to look for composers he could refer to, and first went to France. 

In 1858 Makovsky entered the Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg. From 1860 he participated in the Academy's exhibitions. In 1863 Makovsky and thirteen other students held a protest against the Academy's setting of topics from Scandinavian mythology in the competition for the Large Gold Medal of Academia; all left the academy without a formal diploma.

Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky, 1839-1915
Pygmalion et Galatée

Pygmalion is a legendary figure of Cyprus. Though Pygmalion is the Greek version of the Phoenician royal name Pumayyaton, he is most familiar from Ovid's narrative poem Metamorphoses, in which Pygmalion was a sculptor who fell in love with a statue he had carved. More

Makovsky became a member of a co-operative (artel) of artists led by Ivan Kramskoi, typically producing Wanderers paintings on everyday life. From 1870 he was a founding member of the Society for Traveling Art Exhibitions. He exhibited his works at both the Academia exhibitions and the Traveling Art Exhibitions of the Wanderers.

A significant change in his style occurred after traveling to Egypt and Serbia in the mid-1870s. His interests changed from social and psychological problems to the artistic problems of colors and shape.

In the 1880s he became a fashioned author of portraits and historical paintings. At the World's Fair of 1889 in Paris he received the Large Gold Medal for his paintings Death of Ivan the Terrible, The Judgement of Paris, and Demon and Tamara. He was one of the most highly appreciated and highly paid Russian artists of the time. Many democratic critics considered him as a renegade of the Wanderers' ideals, producing striking but shallow works, while others see him as a forerunner of Russian Impressionism.

Makovsky was killed in 1915 when his horse-drawn carriage was hit by an electric tram in Saint Petersburg. More

Guillaume Seignac (1870–1924)
The Awakening of Psyche, c. 1904
Oil on Canvas
52.4 x 27 cm. (20.6 x 10.6 in.)
Chi Mei Museum

Guillaum Seignac (1870–1924) was a French academic painter. Born in Rennes in 1870, he died in Paris in 1924. Guillaum started training at the Académie Julian in Paris, where he spent 1889 through 1895. He had many teachers there, including Gabriel Ferrier, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, and Tony Robert-Fleury.

In addition to his training in the academic style, much of Seignac's work displayed classical themes and style, for example, his use of diaphanous drapery covering a woman's body is reminiscent of classical style, in particular the sculptor Phidias. In 1897, Guillaume Seignac regularly exhibited at the Salon and won several honors, including in 1900 honorable mention and in 1903 a Third Class medal. More

Guillaume Seignac (1870–1924)
The Awakening of Psyche, c. 1904

Guillaume Seignac
Diana, the Huntress
Oil on canvas
Height: 56 cm (22.05 in.), Width: 46 cm (18.11 in.)

Guillaume Seignac
La Faunesse
Oil on canvas

Guillaume Seignac
La Nymphe de Foret (The Forest Nymph)
Oil on canvas
64.77 cm (25.5 in.), Width: 53.98 cm (21.25 in.)

Sir Peter Paul Rubens, SIEGEN 1577 - 1640 ANTWERP
Apollo in the Chariot of the Sun, 1621/1625
Oil on panel
height 55 cm, width 93 cm

The oil sketch entitled Apollo in the Chariot of the Sun, executed between 1621 and 1625, shows a light, airy composition set in the firmament. Surrounded by the Hours in the shape of putti holding hands, the chariot of the sun-god Apollo, drawn by four stallions, soars into the heavens. Surrounded by a nimbus of radiating beams of light, the sun-god stands upright in his chariot while a cloth of majestic red flutters round his hips. He seems barely able to restrain his charging steeds. The pose of his athletic body recalls the Belvedere Torso, which Rubens had studied and made drawings of during his stay in Italy between 1600 and 1608. Driven away by Apollo's soaring stallions, the genii of darkness and the chariot of Diana, here in her role as goddess of the night, are put to flight. The composition probably derives from a sketch by Primaticcio, today preserved in the Louvre, which may have been intended for a ceiling painting in Fontainebleau. More

Sir Peter Paul Rubens (28 June 1577 – 30 May 1640) was a Flemish Baroque painter. A proponent of an extravagant Baroque style that emphasized movement, colour, and sensuality, Rubens is well known for his Counter-Reformation altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects.
In addition to running a large studio in Antwerp that produced paintings popular with nobility and art collectors throughout Europe, Rubens was a classically educated humanist scholar and diplomat who was knighted by both Philip IV of Spain and Charles I of England. More

Sir Peter Paul Rubens, SIEGEN 1577 - 1640 ANTWERP
oil on oak panel, marouflaged
99 x 73 cm.; 39 x 28 3/4  in

Not seen on public display since 1823, this highly charged sketch painted in oil on panel is Rubens’ spirited interpretation of a ceiling fresco designed by Francesco Primaticcio (1504/05–1570) for a room in the Galerie d’Ulysse at the royal château of Fontainebleau, now destroyed. Testament to Rubens’ powers of artistic adaptation, this painting is both a tribute to the most influential artist working in France in the century prior to his own residency there, and a thoroughly characteristic example of his preferred medium of the oil sketch.  

The subject depicts the daily gallop across the heavens undertaken by the sun god Apollo in his golden chariot to bring light to the world. According to Ovid, the chariot is driven by a team of four horses but Primaticcio, followed by Rubens, showed only two, presumably to lend greater legibility to the scene. More

Sir Peter Paul Rubens, see above

Sir Paul Rubens (1636-1639)
Diana Huntress and her Nymphs
Oil on canvas
Commissioned in November 1636 by Custom Philip IV of Spain for his hunting lodge outside Madrid, the Torre de la Parada;
Photographed by Jean-Pol GRANDMONT

This painting shows a stag fighting off four hounds, using its antlers to constrain two of them. The hind meanwhile darts off to the left. Diana leads the chase and aims her spear at the stag. Three companions follow in her wake, of which the final one blows a hunting horn; another hound accompanies her.

This large canvas was part of a major royal commission given to Rubens and his studio by Philip IV of Spain (1605–1665). It formed part of a series of more than sixty works painted between the end of 1636 and early 1638 to decorate the King’s hunting lodge, the Torre de la Parada, near Madrid. Listed in the inventories of 1700 and 1747, this painting was later taken from the Spanish royal collection by Joseph Bonaparte (1768–1788), whom Napoleon had made King of Spain in 1808, before disappearing from sight just over a century later. More

Sir Paul Rubens (1636-1639), see above

Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640)
Diana Returning from Hunt, circa 1615
Oil on canvas
Height: 136 cm (53.5 in). Width: 184 cm (72.4 in).
Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, Germany

The depiction shows Diana returning from the hunt, but it has also been read as Allegory of the Summer. The beautiful Diana is accompanied by her retinue of nymphs and three hunting dogs, holding a spear in her right hand, and in her left arm a rich hunting bout, which she presents to Pan. The latter is depicted with many fruits in his hands and accompanied by two satyrs. The composition is characterized by a wealth of detail and a vivid and at the same time very harmonious color range. The fine painting in the felt and feathers of the animals as well as in the numerous fruits is particularly striking. More

Sir Paul Rubens (1636-1639), see above

Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640)
Diana cazadora, c. 1617-1620
Oil on canvas
184 × 199 cm (72.4 × 78.3 in)
Prado Museum

In Roman mythology, Diana ([djana]) was the goddess of the hunt, the moon and nature being associated with wild animals and woodland, and having the power to talk to and control animals. She was eventually equated with the Greek goddess Artemis,[1] though she had an independent origin in Italy. Diana was worshipped in ancient Roman religion and is revered in Roman Neopaganism and Stregheria. Diana was known to be the virgin goddess of childbirth and women. She was one of the three maiden goddesses — along with Minerva and Vesta — who swore never to marry. More

Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640)
The Union of Earth and Water, c. 1618
Oil on Canvas
Hermitage Museum

The Union of Earth and Water is a Baroque painting showing Cybele, as the personification of earth, holding the horn of plenty, and Neptune, as the personification of water in the center.  The pair is crowned by the goddess Victoria and the union is heralded through a conch by the Triton below. The union symbolizes fertility, wealth and prosperity, specifically for the city of Antwerp and the river Scheldt whose mouth, in Rubens' times, was blocked by the Dutch depriving Flanders of the access to the sea. The painting features a pyramidal composition, symmetry and the balance of forms. It was influenced by late Italian Renaissance, particularly by Venetian artists. More

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