Sunday, December 11, 2016

13 Paintings, Olympian deities in classical Hellenic Mythology, by the Old Masters, with footnotes #6

Alessandro Rosi (1627–1697)
The Judgment of Paris
Oil on canvas
70 × 55 cm (27.6 × 21.7 in)
Private collection

Alessandro Rosi (28 December 1627 in Rovezzano – 19 April 1697 in Florence) was an Italian artist, working during the Baroque period. Rossi trained in the workshops of Jacopo Vignali and Cesare Dandini. It seems that he undertook a study trip to Rome, where he saw the work of Simon Vouet and Giovanni Lanfranco. 

His biographer Baldinucci described him as having the extravagant temperament of an artist. Rosi enjoyed the patronage of some of the most important Florentine families of the time, such as the Corsini or Rinuccini families, for which he undertook large decorative projects. He also made a series of ten designs for tapestries commissioned by Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. His foremost pupil was Alessandro Gherardini. He died at the age of seventy after being struck by a falling column while walking along the Via Condotta in Florence.

"Little is known of his life." Only the single full-length study of his oeuvre brought him to the forefront. His work previously tended to be confused with that of other artists such as Sigismondo Coccapini. His work has undergone a re-evaluation by critics in recent years, after centuries of oblivion. More

Alessandro Rosi (1627–1697)
The Judgment of Paris
Oil on canvas
72.5 × 58.5 cm (28.5 × 23 in)
Object history With Wildenstein Gallery, New York.
Private collection

The above Judgement of Paris appears to be an early work by Rosi. Compared with his more complicated and multi figured mature pictures, compositions from his early career can be generally categorized as simpler, and with only a few essential figures. The motif of the the two embracing graces here is repeated by Rosi in a later Ceres (below). Furthermore, the pose of design of Paris is repeated in one of the figures in the aforementioned Palazzo Corsini fresco. Rosi executed another version of the present composition, of slightly larger dimensions, in the Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart. That version includes a flute in the foreground next to the large sea shell, an obvious allusion to Paris' preference towards the bucolic activities of a shepherd, and not a soldier of Troy.  More

Alessandro Rosi, 1627-1697
Paris with the goddesses Juno, Minerva and Venus, c. 1650
Oil on canvas
Height: 87.5 cm; Width: 73.5 cm;
Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

The Florentine painter puts the Trojan shepherd-prince at the center of his composition. He has laid aside his conch and flute and, facing the viewer, holds the golden apple of discord in his hand. He will award it to Venus, the most beautiful of the three goddesses. The goddess of love will reward him with Helena, the wife of Menelaus, whose abduction will be the Trojan War. More

The Judgement of Paris
oil on panel
103 x 62 cm (40 1/2 x 24 1/2 in.)
Private Collection

The Judgement of Paris. This early version of The Judgement of Paris, inspired by a panel on the same subject by Lucas Cranach the Elder (in the collection the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) depicts the genesis of the Trojan War and the events that would lead to the city`s eventual demise. The languid figure of Paris is shown in the lower left, about to be woken up by Hermes with a request to determine which of the three goddesses presented, Hera, Aphrodite and Athena, is the most beautiful. Hermes is shown holding a golden apple, which according to legend, was inscribed by Eris (the goddess of discord) to the fairest, after she was not invited to Peleus` and Thetis` wedding, and thrown amid the gods into the celebration. Aphrodite won Paris` favour by promising him the love of Helen, the most beautiful mortal woman, should he select her to be the recipient of the coveted prize. More

Lucas Cranach the Elder (c. 1472 – 16 October 1553) was a German Renaissance painter and printmaker in woodcut and engraving. He was court painter to the Electors of Saxony for most of his career, and is known for his portraits, both of German princes and those of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation, whose cause he embraced with enthusiasm, becoming a close friend of Martin Luther. He also painted religious subjects, first in the Catholic tradition, and later trying to find new ways of conveying Lutheran religious concerns in art. He continued throughout his career to paint nude subjects drawn from mythology and religion. He had a large workshop and many works exist in different versions; his son Lucas Cranach the Younger, and others, continued to create versions of his father's works for decades after his death. Lucas Cranach the Elder has been considered the most successful German artist of his time. More

Attributed to Pierre Dulin (Paris 1669-1748)
Venus reclining in a landscape 
oil on panel
18.1 x 23cm (7 1/8 x 9 1/16in).
Private Collection

The composition of the above painting is based on Poussin's Sleeping Venus and Cupid now in the Gemäldegalerie, Dresden, (below).

Pierre Dulin, or Pierre d’Ulin (17 September 1669 - 28 January 1748), was a French painter born in Paris. He was placed in a course at the Royal Academy of Painting under Bon Boullogne. Dulin won few prizes up to 1694, when he was aged 25. The following year, his teacher advised him to stand for the Academy's grand prize. He was admitted to the competition but did not win.

Undiscouraged, he tried again and won the next year with great distinction. His painting was found so much above what had been seen so far from him that there was suspicion of cheating. Before granting the prize to Dulin, the Academy asked that he prove his capacity to the Director, executing in his presence a work on a subject given by the Director. He passed this test successfully. The Academy excluded him from subsequent competitions as being too formidable an artist, and put him on the list of pupils to go to the Academy of Rome. 

However, work that he had undertaken for the Duke of Richelieu obliged him to defer the trip to Rome. The Duke loved the arts and artists, and felt this sentiment to a particular degree with Dulin, since he kept Dulin in his house, admitted him to his table and provided servants to look after him. The piece which brought him the greatest applause, and was seen as a wonder, was a painting he made in great secrecy after three paintings by Nicolas Poussin that represented pagan festivals and that were owned by Richelieu. Dulin chose a party in honor of Bacchus, which was composed and executed so much in the style of Poussin, that many connoisseurs there were taken in, ensuring that his new patron became one of his most zealous promoters. His reputation brought him to Mansart's attention, who engaged him and proposed he should not leave Paris, with an offer of working for the King and a recommendation to the Academy to receive him.

Dulin nevertheless placed great store on what he could learn in Italy. He arrived in Rome at the beginning of March 1700. He became absorbed in the study of the great works of art that had attracted him. Above all Raphael's paintings in the Vatican. 

Dulin made an altarpiece for the Dominicans in Rome on the subject of Saint Thomas Aquinas. This brought him into a special relationship with Antonin Cloche, general of the order, with whom he discussed principles of architecture, the proportions of the five orders, and initiated the theory of plans. During his stay in Rome, Dulin made several portraits that made his reputation. He was chosen to portray the Spanish ambassador to Rome. When his pension expired and he was preparing to return to France, he had a private audience with the Pope, who pressed him to stay in Rome. When Dulin resisted the Pope presented him with his portrait, set in a ring, ornamented with two rubies and some diamonds, and gave him several medals and relics.

Dulin was received by the Academy on 30 April 1707 with the painting "Laomedon punished by Apollo and Neptune" as his reception piece. Dulin was elected Assistant Professor on 26 October 1726. He died in Paris 28 January 1748. More

Nicolas Poussin
Sleeping Venus And Cupid, c. 1630
Oil on canvas
96 x 71 cm
Gemäldegalerie, Dresden, Germany

France’s Nicolas Poussin painted The Sleeping Venus and Cupid on oil on canvas. It was completed in 1630. Venus and Cupid shows a sleeping Venus with two cupids – one on either side of her. Venus’ brightness is in contrast to the duller surrounding figures and landscape which make the latter somewhat difficult to see. Cupid, in Roman mythology was Venus’ son, and the two cupids depicted in the painting are in close proximity to her. As the goddess of love, Venus was the “queen of pleasure” and considered mother of the Roman people. Watching over her near her head are two observers, possibly suitors or voyeurs. More

Nicolas Poussin (French: June 1594 – 19 November 1665) was the leading painter of the classical French Baroque style, although he spent most of his working life in Rome. His work is characterized by clarity, logic, and order, and favors line over color. Until the 20th century he remained a major inspiration for such classically oriented artists as Jacques-Louis David, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Paul Cézanne.

He worked in Rome for a circle of leading collectors from there and elsewhere, except for a short period when Cardinal Richelieu ordered him back to France to serve as First Painter to the King. Most of his works are history paintings of religious or mythological subjects that very often have a large landscape element. More

The Resting Diana
Oil on canvas
56.5 x 74 cm (22 1/4 x 29 1/8 in.)
Private Collection

Paul-Jacques-Aimé Baudry (7 November 1828 – 17 January 1886) was a French painter, born in La Roche-sur-Yon in the Vendée. He studied art under Michel Martin Drolling and won the Prix de Rome in 1850 for his picture of Zenobia found on the banks of the Araxes.

His talent from the first revealed itself as strictly academical, full of elegance and grace, but somewhat lacking originality. In the course of his residence in Italy, Baudry derived strong inspiration from Italian art with the mannerism of Correggio, as was evident in the two works he exhibited in the Salon of 1857, which were purchased for the Luxembourg: The Martyrdom of a Vestal Virgin and The Child.

Once only did he attempt an historical picture, Charlotte Corday after the murder of Marat (1861); and returned by preference to the former class of subjects or to painting portraits of illustrious men of his day.

The works that crowned Baudry's reputation were his mural decorations, which show much imagination and a high artistic gift for color, as may be seen. in the frescoes in the Paris Court of Cassation. at the château of Chantilly, and some private residences the Hôtel Fould and Hôtel Paivabut, above all, in the decorations of the foyer of the Opera Garnier.

These, more than thirty paintings in all, and among them compositions figurative of dancing and music, occupied the painter for ten years. Baudry was a member of the Académie des beaux-arts, succeeding Jean-Victor Schnetz.

Baudry died in Paris in 1886. Two of his colleagues, Paul Dubois and Marius Jean Mercié, co-operating with his brother, Baudry the architect, erected his funeral monument in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris (1890). More

Giorgione (1477–1510) and Titian (1490–1576)
Sleeping Venus, c. 1508-10.
Oil on canvas
108.5 × 175 cm (42.7 × 68.9 in)
Current location
Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister 

Although nude figures (such as Botticelli's "Birth of Venus") had been painted before this one, this is probably the first nude to show a figure simply as a depiction of a nude. It is named "Venus" but has no traditional attributes (such as Cupid) to indicate that it represents a goddess. It was a break from tradition, and set a new subject for the artist, resulting in 20th century works such as the nudes of Francis Bacon and Henry Moore. More

Most central and typical of all of Giorgione's extant works is the Sleeping Venus now in Dresden. It was first recognized by Giovanni Morelli, and is now universally accepted, as being the same as the picture seen by Marcantonio Michiel and later by Ridolfi (his 17th century biographer) in the Casa Marcello at Venice. An exquisitely pure and severe rhythm of line and contour chastens the sensuous richness of the painting. The sweep of white drapery on which the goddess lies; and the glowing landscape that fills the space behind her; most harmoniously frame her divinity. The use of an external landscape to frame a nude is innovative; but in addition, to add to her mystery, she is shrouded in sleep, spirited away from accessibility to any conscious expression.

It is recorded that Giorgione left this piece unfinished and that the landscape, with a Cupid which subsequent restoration has removed, were completed after his death by Titian. The same concept of idealized beauty is evoked in a virginally pensive Judith from the Hermitage Museum, a large painting which exhibits Giorgione's special qualities of color richness and landscape romance, while demonstrating that life and death are each other's companions rather than foes (below). More

Giorgione (Giorgio Barbarelli da Castelfranco). 1478(?)-1510
Judith, c. 1504
Oil on canvas
144x68 cm
The State Hermitage Museum,  Sankt-Peterburg, Russia

The Book of Judith is the Old Testament of the Bible. The story revolves around Judith, a daring and beautiful widow, who is upset with her Jewish countrymen for not trusting God to deliver them from their foreign conquerors. She goes with her loyal maid to the camp of the enemy general, Holofernes, with whom she slowly ingratiates herself, promising him information on the Israelites. Gaining his trust, she is allowed access to his tent one night as he lies in a drunken stupor. She decapitates him, then takes his head back to her fearful countrymen. The Assyrians, having lost their leader, disperse, and Israel is saved. Though she is courted by many, Judith remains unmarried for the rest of her life. More

Giorgione (born Giorgio Barbarelli da Castelfranco; c. 1477/8–1510) was an Italian painter of the Venetian school in the High Renaissance from Venice, whose career was cut off by his death at a little over 30. Giorgione is known for the elusive poetic quality of his work, though only about six surviving paintings are acknowledged for certain to be his work. The resulting uncertainty about the identity and meaning of his art has made Giorgione one of the most mysterious figures in European painting.

Together with Titian, who was slightly younger, he is the founder of the distinctive Venetian school of Italian Renaissance painting, which achieves much of its effect through colour and mood, and is traditionally contrasted with the reliance on the more linear disegno-led style of Florentine painting. More

DONALD FRIEND (1915-1989)
Gods Disturbing Picnicking Mortals II ii)
Oil on board
29.5 x 39.5cm
Private Collection

Donald FRIEND  (1915-1989). studied with Datillo Rubbo at the Royal Art Society of New South Wales and under Bernard Meninsky and Mark Gertler at the Westminster School of Art, London. When the Second World War was declared he returned to Australia and joined the AIF, serving as an artillery gunner 1942-45 and as an official war artist in 1945. He wrote and illustrated two books based on his wartime experiences, Gunner’s Diary 1943 and Painter’s Journal 1946, which enhanced his reputation for versatility and wit. He spent much l of his life outside Australia including periods in Ceylon 1957-61 and Bali 1966 - 80. He had power and sensitivity as a draughtsman, with an ability to delineate forms in an almost calligraphic line, mixed with feeling for colour and design. More

DONALD FRIEND (1915-1989)
Rape of the Sabines
Oil on board
29.5 x 39.5cm
Private Collection

Rape of the Sabine Women is the common name of an incident from Roman mythology, in which the men of Rome committed a mass abduction of young women from the other cities in the region. It has been a frequent subject of artists, particularly during the Renaissance and post-Renaissance eras.

Use of the word "rape" comes from the conventional translation of the Latin word used in the ancient accounts of the incident: raptio. Modern scholars tend to interpret the word as "abduction" as opposed to (sexual) violation. Controversy remains, however, as to how the acts committed against the women should be judged.

The Rape occurred in the early history of Rome, shortly after its founding by Romulus and his mostly male followers. Seeking wives in order to establish families, the Romans negotiated unsuccessfully with the Sabines, who populated the surrounding area. The Sabines feared the emergence of a rival society and refused to allow their women to marry the Romans. Consequently, the Romans planned to abduct Sabine women during a festival of Neptune Equester. They planned and announced a marvelous festival to attract people from all nearby towns. According to Livy, many people from Rome's neighboring towns attended, including folk from the Caeninenses, Crustumini, and Antemnates, and many of the Sabines. At the festival, Romulus gave a signal, at which the Romans grabbed the Sabine women and fought off the Sabine men. The indignant abductees were soon implored by Romulus to accept Roman husbands. More

DAVID BOYD (1924-2011) 
Europa with Blue Roses 
Oil on paper on board 
6 x 37.5cm 
Private Collection

In Greek mythology Europa was the mother of King Minos of Crete, a woman with Phoenician origin of high lineage, and for whom the continent Europe was named. The story of her abduction by Zeus in the form of a white bull was a Cretan story; as classicist Károly Kerényi points out, "most of the love-stories concerning Zeus originated from more ancient tales describing his marriages with goddesses. This can especially be said of the story of Europa".

The mythographers tell that Zeus was enamored of Europa and decided to seduce or ravish her. He transformed himself into a tame white bull and mixed in with her father's herds. While Europa and her helpers were gathering flowers, she saw the bull, caressed his flanks, and eventually got onto his back. Zeus took that opportunity and ran to the sea and swam, with her on his back, to the island of Crete. He then revealed his true identity, and Europa became the first queen of Crete. More

Nude and Satyr (Jupiter and Antiope) c.1911 
Oil on canvas 
65 x 81cm 
Private Collection

Antiope, mother of Amphion. In Greek mythology, Antiope was the daughter of the Boeotian river god Asopus, according to Homer; in later sources she is called the daughter of the "nocturnal" king Nycteus of Thebes or, in the Cypria, of Lycurgus, but for Homer her site is purely Boeotian. She was the mother of Amphion and Zethus.

Her beauty attracted Zeus, who, assuming the form of a satyr, took her by force. This is the sole mythic episode in which Zeus is transformed into a satyr. After this she was carried off by Epopeus, who was venerated as a hero in Sicyon; he would not give her up till compelled by her uncle Lycus.

On the way home she gave birth, in the neighbourhood of Eleutherae on Mount Cithaeron, to the twins Amphion and Zethus, of whom Amphion was the son of the god, and Zethus the son of Epopeus. Both were left to be brought up by herdsmen. At Thebes Antiope now suffered from the persecution of Dirce, the wife of Lycus, but at last escaped towards Eleutherae, and there found shelter, unknowingly, in the house where her two sons were living as herdsmen. This is the situation in Euripides' Antiope, which turns upon the recognition of mother and sons and their rescue of her. More

Emanuel Phillips Fox (1865–1915) was an influential and internationally-recognised painter in the impressionist style who contributed substantially to development of Australian plein air painting. Fox’s paintings are characterised by a commitment to direct visual experience; in Australia and Europe he painted and exhibited sun-drenched, vividly-coloured landscapes and scenes of everyday life animated by textured paint handling. More

Acknowledgement: Shapiro

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