Wednesday, October 19, 2016

13 Paintings, Olympian deities in classical Hellenic Mythology, by the Old Masters, with footnotes #5

Jean Jules Badin, 1843 - 1943, FRENCH
CIRCÉ, c. 1875
Oil on canvas
130 by 98cm., 51 by 38½in.
Private collection

Circe, in Greek legend, a sorceress, the daughter of Helios, the sun god, and of the ocean nymph Perse. She was able by means of drugs and incantations to change humans into wolves, lions, and swine. The Greek hero Odysseus visited her island, Aeaea, with his companions, whom she changed into swine. But Odysseus, protected by the herb moly (a gift from Hermes), compelled her to restore them to their original shape. He stayed with her for one year before resuming his journey. The story is told by Homer in the Odyssey, Books X and XII. Greco-Roman tradition placed her island near Italy or located her on Mount Circeo. More

Jean Jules Badin, (1843-1919) was a painter in Paris who succeeded his father Pierre-Adolphe Badin as director of the Manufactore of Tapestries in Beauvais. Jules Badin saw the firm through rough times. During the 1870/71 war and subsequent Commune, they lost their state patronage as well as a large stock of tapestries in the fires of 1871. Rebuilding Paris, however, led to new commissions, mostly for recreations of 18th century Beauvais tapestries for public buildings. It might have been Jules Badin’s initiative to invite contemporary artists with new designs, because he made a special note of their contributions in his documentation La Manufacture de Tapisseries de Beauvais. More

Badin was a pupil of Alexandre Cabanel and Paul Baudry, whose academic influence is clearly visible in the present Salon painting. Here the Greek mythological sorceress Circe stands contrapposto, bearing the cup which she offered to Odysseus' crew in the Odyssey, and the wand with which she turned them into swine. More

Paul-Jacques-Aimé Baudry, (1828–1886)
Diana Reposing, circa 1859
Oil on mahogany wood
Height: 35.24 cm (13.9 in). Width: 59.53 cm (23.4 in). Depth: 1.27 cm (0.5 in).
Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland

The nude goddess, identified by the crescent moon in her hair and the bow and quiver at her side, reclines on a blue drapery in front of a recumbent stag in a wooded glade. An early inscription identifies this painting as a variant sketch for an overdoor in the hôtel of Achille Fould, the Minster of State. The hôtel, on the rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, was acquired by the Duc d'Aumale in 1872, and its decor was transferred to the Château of Chantilly six years later. The overdoor, "Diane au repos," and another, "Venus jouant avec l'Amour," were both mounted in the Galerie des Cerfs. The actual overdoor is painted in "grisaille" unlike our sketch which is in naturalistic colors. In the overdoor the majestic stag is an integral part of the composition, whereas in this sketch he is barely discernible in the right background. This composition illustrates the artist's practice of imparting to his traditional subjects an air of modishness or coquetry, that may have resulted from his occasional use of professional beauties as models. The figure of Diana reposing in the sketch and the overdoor bears a striking resemblance to Blanche D'Antigny, an actress who at the age of eighteen modeled for Baudry's famous "The Penitent Madeleine," painted about the same time and acquired by the State at the 1859 Salon for the Nantes Museum. More

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 (below) found on the banks of the Araxes.

Paul-Jacques-Aimé Baudry (1828–1886)
Zenobie retrouvee par les bergers sur les bords.
Zenobia found by the shepherds on the Banks of the Aras River, circa 1848
Oil on canvas
57 1/8 × 44 1/2 in, 145.1 × 113 cm
Private collection

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

Zenobia of Armenia (Armenian: 1st century) was a royal Iberian princess of the Pharnavazid dynasty who was a Queen of Armenia from 51 to 53 and 54 to 55 during the reign of her husband, King Rhadamistus.

Zenobia's father Mithridates reigned in Armenia until her husband and Mithridates' nephew and son-in-law Rhadamistus usurped the Armenian throne by the sudden invasion. Her husband destroyed her entire family. Rhadamistus killed Zenobia's parents.

After the execution of her entire family Rhadamistus became king in 51 and she became his queen. Armenians revolted soon after and with the Parthian support of prince Tiridates I. Both had to flee back to Iberia.

Rhadamistus had no means of escape but in the swiftness of the horses which bore him and his wife away. Pregnant as she was, she endured, somehow or other, out of fear of the enemy and love of her husband, the first part of the flight, but after a while, when she felt herself shaken by its continuous speed, she implored to be rescued by an honourable death from the shame of captivity. He at first embraced, cheered, and encouraged her, now admiring her heroism, now filled with a sickening apprehension at the idea of her being left to any man's mercy. Finally, urged by the intensity of his love and familiarity with dreadful deeds, he unsheathed his scymitar, and having stabbed her, dragged her to the bank of the Araxes and committed her to the stream, so that her very body might be swept away. Then in headlong flight he hurried to Iberia, his ancestral kingdom. Zenobia noy yet dead, as she yet breathed and showed signs of life on the calm water at the river's edge, was perceived by some shepherds, who inferring from her noble appearance that she was no base-born woman, bound up her wound and applied to it their rustic remedies. As soon as they knew her name and her adventure, they conveyed her to the city of Artaxata, whence she was conducted at the public charge to Tiridates, who received her kindly and treated her as a royal person.

Zenobia is said to have given birth to an unknown son from Rhadamistus in Armenia. Her and her child's later life is unknown. Her husband returning home to Iberia was soon, in 58, put to death as traitor by his own father Pharasmanes. According to the historian Leo, Zenobia lived in Tiridates’ court until her death  More

(ATTRIB) ANDREA APPIANI (Italian, 1754-1817)
Diana and Cupid reading a scroll
Painted in tondo, oil on panel
11 x 11 in.
Private collection

In Roman mythology, Diana 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

Cupid is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection. He is often portrayed as the son of the love goddess Venus and the war god Mars, and is known in Latin also as Amor (. His Greek counterpart is Eros.

Although Eros is in Classical Greek art as a slender winged youth, during the Hellenistic period, he was increasingly portrayed as a chubby boy. During this time, his iconography acquired the bow and arrow that represent his source of power: a person, or even a deity, who is shot by Cupid's arrow is filled with uncontrollable desire.He is a main character only in the tale of Cupid and Psyche, when wounded by his own weapons he experiences the ordeal of love. 

Cupid continued to be a popular figure in the Middle Ages, when under Christian influence he often had a dual nature as Heavenly and Earthly love. In the Renaissance, a renewed interest in classical philosophy endowed him with complex allegorical meanings. In contemporary popular culture, Cupid is shown drawing his bow to inspire romantic love, often as an icon of Valentine's Day. More

Andrea Appiani (31 May 1754 – 8 November 1817) was an Italian neoclassical painter. Born in Milan, he entered the private academy of the painter Carlo Maria Giudici (1723–1804) where he received instruction in drawing, copying mainly from sculpture and prints. From there, he then joined the class of the fresco painter Antonio de' Giorgi, which was held at the Ambrosiana picture gallery in Milan. At the same time, he also frequented the studio of Martin Knoller, where his knowledge of painting in oils was deepened. Also, he studied anatomy at the Ospedale Maggiore in Milan with the sculptor Gaetano Monti.

Appiani's interest in aesthetic issues was stimulated by the classical poet Giuseppe Parini, whom he drew in two fine pencil portraits. In 1776 he entered the Brera Academy of Fine Arts to follow the painting courses of Giulio Traballesi, receiving a mastery of the fresco technique. 

Although created a pensioned artist to the Kingdom of Italy by Napoleon, Appiani lost his allowance after the events of 1814 and fell into poverty. During his period as court painter he rendered portraits of Napoleon and the chief personages of his regime, among the most graceful of which are his oil paintings Venus and Love, and Rinaldo in the garden of Armida. He is known as "the elder", to distinguish him from his great-nephew Andrea Appiani, an historical painter in Rome.

He died at Milan in 1817. More

After Guido Reni, 17th Century
Oil on canvas
61.2 x 69.2cm (24 1/8 x 27 1/4in)
Private collection

In Greek mythology, Erigone was the daughter of Icarius of Athens. Icarius was cordial towards Dionysus, who gave his shepherds wine. They became intoxicated and killed Icarius, thinking he had poisoned them. His daughter, Erigone, and her dog, Maera, found his body. Erigone hanged herself over her father's grave. Dionysus was angry and punished Athens by making all of the city's maidens commit suicide in the same way. Erigone was placed in the stars as the constellation Virgo. More

Also in Greek mythology, another Erigone was the daughter of Aegisthus and Clytemnestra, rulers of Mycenae. Some accounts said by her half-brother, Orestes, Erigone was the mother of Penthilus.

She would have been slain by Orestes along with her brother Aletes if not for the intervention of Artemis, who rescued her and made her a priestess in Attica. In some stories, she hangs herself after the child is born, though this may be a confusion with Erigone, daughter of Icarius (above). Also, after Hermione died, she is said to have married Orestes and gave birth to Penthilus. Or it is said she sued Orestes for the murder of her parents. More

Guido Reni (4 November 1575 – 18 August 1642) 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. When Reni was about twenty years old he migrated to the rising rival studio, named Accademia degli Incamminati (Academy of the "newly embarked", or progressives), led by Lodovico Carracci. He 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

Sir Peter Paul Rubens (28 June 1577 – 30 May 1640)
Oil on panel
23 1/2 x 29 1/2in.
Private collection

Bacchanalia,  also called Dionysia, in Greco-Roman religion, any of the several festivals of Bacchus (Dionysus), the wine god. They probably originated as rites of fertility gods. Introduced into Rome from lower Italy, the Bacchanalia were at first held in secret, attended by women only, on three days of the year. Later, admission was extended to men, and celebrations took place as often as five times a month. The reputation of these festivals as orgies led in 186 bc to a decree of the Roman Senate that prohibited the Bacchanalia throughout Italy, except in certain special cases. Nevertheless, Bacchanalia long continued in the south of Italy. More

Peter Paul Rubens, (1577–1640)
Bacchanal on Andros, after a painting by Titian, circa 1635
Oil on canvas
200 × 215 cm (78.7 × 84.6 in)
Nationalmuseum is Sweden

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

 Emile Eisman-Semenowsky, (1857 - 1911)
A Harvest Festival
Oil on panel
33.5 x 76.5cm.
Private collection

The present painting depicts Cerealia, the festival dedicated to Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, grains and fertility, as dedicated in the inscription at left and hinted to by the fruits and vegetables on the altar at right. Her festival took place from mid- to end of April and was led by priestesses from the best Roman families. The festivities included races in the Circus Maximus, theater, music and dancing.

The painting is Semenowsky's most ambitious work known to date, a large format, multi-figured composition, whose size may indicate its intention as an entry to the Paris Salon. One can speculate that Semenowsky became inspired by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema's Spring, an intricate composition from 1894 depicting the same festival and of roughly same dimensions, albeit reversed. More

 Emile Eisman-Semenowsky, (1857 - 1911).  Little is known about the painter Emile Eisman-Semenowsky, just a very few documented sources exist. He was born in the part of Poland annexed by Russia. Early on, he emigrated, studied painting outside Poland. The early 1880s he came to Paris and was here known as a painter of sentimental portraits of women. Eisman-Semenowsky worked as an assistant for the Belgian painter Jan van Beers and appeared as a witness in the scandal surrounding the Beers painting "Lily" and "La Sirene" on. In addition to the numerous portraits of women he created a few genre scenes and nudes. His painting was adapted to the tastes of the French bourgeoisie. Many works were focused on the woman in the Middle East or the Ancient times. In France, he was attributed to the Polish or Russian painters. More

Adolphe Yvon
Oil on panel
29 1/2 x 45 in.
Private collection

Adolphe Yvon (1817–1893) was a French painter known for his paintings of the Napoleonic Wars. Yvon studied under Paul Delaroche, rose to fame during the Second Empire, then finished his career as a teacher.

Shortly after the end of the Crimean War in September 1855, Yvon was commissioned by the French government to paint a large picture of the capture of the Malakoff at Sevastopol. He sailed for the Crimea on February 19, 1856 where he spent six weeks compiling a portfolio of sketches, as well as visiting the battlefield of Inkerman. In 1857, the finished painting La Prise de la tour de Malakoff,  It was shown at the Paris Salon, 8 septembre 1855, and two years later came La Gorge de Malakoff, and La courtine de Malakoff. La Prise was a massive piece measuring 6 metres by 9 metres and represented the moment when the fortification was captured around midday.

In the succeeding years, Emperor Napoleon III began to admire his battle scenes; naturally he glorified the carnage of Napoleon I's campaigns. Yvon became an officer of the Légion d'honneur in 1867, and painted Napoleon III's portrait the following year. Yvon was known as the leading teacher of drawing at the École des Beaux-Arts (1863–83). More

Roman School, 17th Century
Leda and the Swan 
Oil on copper
16.6 x 25.8cm (6 9/16 x 10 3/16in).
Private collection

Leda, in Greek legend, usually believed to be the daughter of Thestius, king of Aetolia, and wife of Tyndareus, king of Lacedaemon. She was also believed to have been the mother (by Zeus, who had approached and seduced her in the form of a swan) of the other twin, Pollux, and of Helen, both of whom hatched from eggs. Variant legends gave divine parentage to both the twins and possibly also to Clytemnestra, with all three of them having hatched from the eggs of Leda, while yet other legends say that Leda bore the twins to her mortal husband, Tyndareus. Still other variants say that Leda may have hatched out Helen from an egg laid by the goddess Nemesis, who was similarly approached by Zeus in the form of a swan.The divine swan’s encounter with Leda was a subject depicted by both ancient Greek and Italian Renaissance artists; Leonardo da Vinci undertook a painting (now lost) of the theme, and Correggio’s Leda (c. 1530s) is a well-known treatment of the subject. More

Roman School, 17th Century. Both Michelangelo and Raphael worked in Rome, making it the centre of High Renaissance; in the 17th century it was the centre of the Baroque movement represented by Bernini and Pietro da Cortona. From the 17th century the presence of classical remains drew artists from all over Europe including Poussin, Claude Lorrain, Piranesi, Pannini and Mengs.

In the 17th century Italian art was diffused mainly from Rome, the indisputable centre of the Baroque.

Roman Mannerism, spread abroad by the prolific work of Federico and Taddeo Zuccari, was continued by Roncalli, called Pomarancio and especially by Giuseppe Cesari, called Cavaliere d'Arpino, whose reputation was immense. The reaction against Mannerism engendered two different movements, which were sometimes linked together: one was realist with Caravaggio, the other eclectic and decorative with the Carracci.

Caravaggio brought about the greatest pictorial revolution of the century. His imposing compositions, deliberately simplified, are remarkable for their rigorous sense of reality and for the contrasting light falling from one side that accentuates the volumes. He changed from small paintings of genre and still-life, clear in light and cool in colour, to harsh realism, strongly modelled volumes and dramatic light and shade. His work, like his life, caused much scandal and excited international admiration.

Among the Italian disciples of Caravaggio Carlo Saraceni was the only direct Venetian follower. Bartolomeo Manfredi imitated Caravaggio's genre paintings; Orazio Gentileschi and his daughter Artemisia Gentileschi showed a marked realism. Caravaggio's biographer and enemy, Giovanni Baglione underwent his influence. More

John La Farge, 1878-1879
Venus Anadyomene, c. 1862
Oil on panel
Height: 20.32 cm (8 in.), Width: 14.61 cm (5.75 in.)
Private collection

Venus Anadyomene (from Greek, "Venus Rising From the Sea") is one of the iconic representations of Aphrodite, made famous in a much-admired painting by Apelles, now lost, but described in Pliny's Natural History, with the anecdote that the great Apelles employed Campaspe, a mistress of Alexander the Great, for his model. According to Athenaeus, the idea of Aphrodite rising from the sea was inspired by the courtesan Phryne, who, during the time of the festivals of the Eleusinia and Poseidonia, often swam nude in the sea. More

John La Farge (March 31, 1835 – November 14, 1910) was an American painter, muralist, stained glass window maker, decorator, and writer. La Farge was born in New York City to wealthy French parents. His interest in art began during his studies at Mount St. Mary's University in Maryland and St. John's College in New York. He initially intended to study law, but this changed after his first visit to Paris, France in 1856. Stimulated by the arts in the city, he studied with Thomas Couture and became acquainted with notable literary people.

La Farge's earliest drawings and landscapes, from his studies in Newport, show marked originality, especially in the handling of color values. Many of La Farge's mythological and religious paintings, including Virgil, were executed in an area of Rhode Island known as "Paradise," in a forest which La Farge called "The Sacred Grove" after Virgil.

La Farge made extensive travels in Asia and the South Pacific, which inspired his painting. He visited Japan in 1886, and the South Seas in 1890 and 1891, in particular spending time and absorbing the culture of Tahiti. Henry Adams accompanied him on these trips as a travel companion. He visited Hawaii in September 1890, where he painted scenic spots on Oahu and traveled to the Island of Hawaii to paint an active volcano.

In 1892, La Farge was brought on as an instructor with the Metropolitan Museum of Art Schools to provide vocational training to students in New York City.[ He served as President of the National Society of Mural Painters from 1899 to 1904.

He learned several languages, and was erudite in literature and art; by his cultured personality and reflective conversation, he influenced many other people. Though naturally a questioner, he venerated the traditions of religious art, and preserved his Catholic faith.

La Farge died at Butler Hospital, in Providence, Rhode Island in 1910. More

Carlo Francesco Nuvolone (1609–1702) 
Oil on pane
8 ¾ x 6 5/8 in. (22.2 x 16.8 cm.)
Private collection

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.

As a subject, Andromeda has been popular in art since classical times; it is one of several Greek myths of a Greek hero's rescue of the intended victim of an archaic hieros gamos, giving rise to the "princess and dragon" motif. From the Renaissance, interest revived in the original story, typically as derived from Ovid's account. More

Carlo Francesco Nuvolone (1609–1702) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period, active mainly in Lombardy. He was nicknamed Guido della Lombardia (Guido Reni of Lombardy).

He was born in Milan to a Cremonese father and mannerist painter, Panfilo Nuvolone. After working with his father, he studied under Giovanni Battista Crespi (il Cerano) in the Accademia Ambrosiana in Milan. In that studio he would have encountered Daniele Crespi and Giulio Cesare Procaccini. Of particular interest is his depiction of himself as a painter surrounded by his family of artists, including his daughters playing musical instruments. Among his pupils were Giuseppe Zanata, Federigo Panza, Filippo Abbiati, and Pietro Maggi. More

Pietro (Libertino) Liberi (1605 – 18 October 1687) 
Oil on canvas
25 3/8 x 22 ¾ in. (64.4 x 57.8 cm.)
Private collection

Andromeda, see above

Pietro (Libertino) Liberi (1605 – 18 October 1687) was an Italian painter of the Baroque era, active mainly in Venice and the Veneto. Liberi was born in Padua, his earliest training was with Alessandro Varotari (il Padovanino).

He had an adventure-filled life. He traveled extensively in Italy. During a voyage to Istanbul, he was captured into bondage for 8 months by pirates from Tunis. Released through Malta, he visited Sicily, Naples, and Pisa. For a few years in his life, he became a mercenary with the forces of cavaliere Antonio Manfredini, who was fighting for the Duchy of Tuscany against the Saracens. He fought to capture the Castle of Sichia, in present İskenderun in Turkey. After the campaign, he returned to Livorno, and in 1637, traveled to Lisbon, visited Liguria, the Southern coast of France and Madrid. Back in Tuscany, he focused again on painting, travelling to Rome. There he was a room-mate of the engraver Stefano della Bella. In Rome, he painted a Rape of the Sabines for Leopoldo de' Medici. He returned to Florence to paint a ceiling in the Oratory of San Filippo Neri. He traveled to Venice in 1643, painting Evangelists for the church of the Ospedaletto. He also painted a large altarpiece for the church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo in Venice. He painted a St Anthony of Padua with Venice in prayer for the church of the Salute. In 1662, he was knighted by the Doge Francesco Molino.

He was nicknamed il Libertino due to his frequent choice of salacious themes in cabinet pieces.

He was the first president of the Academy of Painters of Venice. He painted frescoes of the Battle of the Dardanelles for the Doge's palace; the Slaughter of the Innocents for the church of the Ognissanti in Venice; Noah leaving the Ark in the cathedral at Vicenza; and the Deluge at Santa Maria Maggiore at Bergamo. More

Acknowledgement: Bonhams

Images are copyright of their respective owners, assignees or others

21 Paintings, Olympian deities in classical Hellenic Mythology, with footnotes, #4

Circle of François Boucher (29 September 1703 – 30 May 1770) , PARIS 1703 - 1770
73 x 91,5 cm ; 28 3/4  by 36 in

François Boucher (29 September 1703 – 30 May 1770) was a French painter, draughtsman and etcher, who worked in the Rococo style. Boucher is known for his idyllic and voluptuous paintings on classical themes, decorative allegories, and pastoral scenes. He was perhaps the most celebrated painter and decorative artist of the 18th century. He also painted several portraits of his patroness, Madame de Pompadour. More

Cupid is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection. He is often portrayed as the son of the love goddess Venus and the war god Mars, and is known in Latin also as Amor (. His Greek counterpart is Eros.

Although Eros is in Classical Greek art as a slender winged youth, during the Hellenistic period, he was increasingly portrayed as a chubby boy. During this time, his iconography acquired the bow and arrow that represent his source of power: a person, or even a deity, who is shot by Cupid's arrow is filled with uncontrollable desire.He is a main character only in the tale of Cupid and Psyche, when wounded by his own weapons he experiences the ordeal of love. 

Cupid continued to be a popular figure in the Middle Ages, when under Christian influence he often had a dual nature as Heavenly and Earthly love. In the Renaissance, a renewed interest in classical philosophy endowed him with complex allegorical meanings. In contemporary popular culture, Cupid is shown drawing his bow to inspire romantic love, often as an icon of Valentine's Day. More

Joachim Wtewael (1566–1638)
Mars and Venus Surprised by the Gods, circa 1606 and circa 1610
Oil on copper
Height: 203 mm (7.99 in). Width: 155 mm (6.1 in).
Getty Center

In the Metamorphoses, the Roman author Ovid tells the story of Vulcan discovering the adultery of his wife Venus and her lover Mars. Vulcan fashioned a fine iron net to catch the pair in bed and publicly expose them to the other gods. Here Vulcan stands in the right foreground clutching the net that trapped the lovers, while other deities look on, amused by the couple’s embarrassment. A rich assortment of detail brings to life this story of love and betrayal. More

Joachim Anthoniszoon Wtewael (1566 – 1 August 1638) was a Dutch Mannerist painter and draughtsman, as well as a highly successful flax merchant, and town councillor of Utrecht. Wtewael was one of the leading Dutch exponents of Northern Mannerism, and his distinctive and attractive style remained largely untouched by the naturalistic developments happening around him. Wtewael was trained in the style of late 16th-century Haarlem Mannerism and remained essentially faithful to it, despite painting well into the early period of Dutch Golden Age.

He painted a mixture of large paintings on canvas, and tiny cabinet paintings on copper plates, the latter the more numerous and typically the most distinctive. There is also a group of mid-sized paintings, often on panel. In all these sizes he painted a mixture of conventional religious subjects and mythological ones, the latter with a strong erotic element. The Adoration of the Shepherds, Venus and Mars Surprised by Vulcan, and the Feast of the Gods as the wedding feasts of Cupid and Psyche, Peleus and Thetis, the latter often combined with the Judgement of Paris (below), and Lot and His Daughters, are some examples of these favourite subjects.

Emperor Rudolf II obtained his The Golden Age (now Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). He had several children, and seems to have stopped painting for almost the last decade of his life, perhaps influenced by the illness and death of his wife. Like his brother he was a city councillor; as a member of the main Dutch Reformed Church he was involved in the struggles with the Remonstrants. His best known work, and almost his largest, is the near life-size Perseus and Andromeda in the Louvre. More

Antonio Molinari, VENICE 1655 - 1704
Oil on canvas 
139 x 149 cm; 54 3/4 by 58 5/8 in

Throwing to heaven a look of despair, Helen tries a movement to emerge from the grip of her captor, while her right hand grasps the red cape of Paris. The Abduction of Helen is one of the scenes and romantic narrative character from Greek history. More

Antonio Molinari, also known as il Caraccino, (21 January 1655 – 3 February 1704) The son of a painter, Molinari was apprenticed to Antonio Zanchi in Venice. He was strongly influenced by the vigorous and athletic paintings of Neapolitan painters such as Luca Giordano. He typically painted tumultuous narratives of mythology and religion in large canvases. This would influence his pupil (1697–1703), Giovanni Battista Piazzetta, and his grand manner style. More

Daniel Vertangen (1601-1683)
Paris and the three Graces
Oil on oak panel

THE JUDGEMENT OF PARIS was a contest between the three most beautiful goddesses of Olympos--Aphrodite, Hera and Athena--for the prize of a golden apple addressed "To the Fairest."

The story began with the wedding of Peleus and Thetis which all the gods had been invited to attend except for Eris, goddess of discord. When Eris appeared at the festivities she was turned away and in her anger cast the golden apple amongst the assembled goddesses addressed "To the Fairest." Three goddesses laid claim to the apple--Aphrodite, Hera and Athena. Zeus was asked to mediate and he commanded Hermes to lead the three goddesses to Paris of Troy to decide the issue. The three goddesses appearing before the shepherd prince, each offering him gifts for favour. He chose Aphrodite, swayed by her promise to bestow upon him Helene, the most beautiful woman, for wife. The subsequent abduction of Helene led directly to the Trojan War and the fall of the city. More

Daniel Vertangen (1601, Amsterdam – ca.1683, Amsterdam), was a Dutch Golden Age painter. According to Houbraken he was a pupil of Cornelis van Poelenburch. He lived most of his life in Amsterdam and is known for landscapes and historical allegories. Though he is often listed as a pupil of Van Poelenburch, there is no documentation about this apprenticeship, but it could have been either before 1617 or as Poelenburch's workshop partner after 1626. More

Joachim Wtewael (1566–1638) 
The Judgement of Paris
National Gallery

Joachim Wtewael (1566–1638), see above

The Judgement of Paris, see above

Charles-André dit Carle van Loo, NICE 1705 - 1765 PARIS
109 x 140 cm ; 43 by 55 in

Ariadne has been left on the island of Naxos, deserted by her lover Theseus. She is discovered on the shore by the god Bacchus. In the sky above the figure of Ariadne is the star constellation Corona Borealis (Northern crown). There are two possible variations of the story both going back to Ovid. In his Metamorphoses, Ovid has Bacchus throw the crown of Ariadne into the sky where it becomes the constellation Northern Crown. In Ars Amatoria, Bacchus promises the entire sky to Ariadne where she then would become the constellation Northern Crown. Falling in love with Ariadne on first sight. The picture shows her initial fear of Bacchus, but he raised her to heaven and turned her into a constellation, represented by the crown above her head.' More

Carle or Charles-André van Loo, (15 February 1705 – 15 July 1765) was a French subject painter. He was the most famous member of a successful dynasty of painters of Dutch origin. His oeuvre includes every category: religion, history painting, mythology, portraiture, allegory, and genre scenes. Charles-André was born in Nice, then part of the Duchy of Savoy. Van Loo followed his brother Jean-Baptiste to Turin, and then to Rome in 1712, where he studied under Benedetto Luti and the sculptor Pierre Legros. After leaving Italy in 1723, he worked in Paris, studied at the Académie Royale, where he gained first prize for drawing in 1723, and received the first prize for historical painting in 1727. After again visiting Turin in 1727, he was employed by king Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia, for whom he painted a series of subjects illustrative of Tasso. In 1734 he settled in Paris, and in 1735 became a member of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture and rose rapidly in the hierarchy of the academy. Madame de Pompadour and the French court were taking the artist under their patronage. He was decorated with the Order of Saint Michael and named First Painter to king Louis XV of France in 1762. He was a most successful court painter but his portraits as well as history paintings also enjoyed an enormous success throughout all Europe. He died in Paris on 15 July 1765. More

Bartholomeo Guidobono. Italian. 1654-1709.
Bacchus. the autumn, c. 1700
Oil on canvas
148 x 118 CM
Genova, Museo di Palazzo Reale

Bacchus is the Roman name for the Greek god Dionysus. Dionysus was the son of the Greek god Zeus (or Jupiter, to use his Roman equivalent) and a mortal woman named Semele. Dionysus was the Greek god of wine, the grape harvest, ecstasy and madness

Bartolomeo Guidobono (1654–1709) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period, active mainly in Northern Italy. He appears to have modeled his style to Northern influences such as Gaudenzio Ferrari and Corregio. He began as a painter of ceramic earthenware with his father, who worked for the royal court of Savoy. He afterwards went to work as a copyist to Parma, Venice, and Genoa. He was admired for his decoration of ornamental parts, such as flowers, fruits, and animals. He helped fresco the Palazzo Centurioni in Genoa. He painted an Inebriation of Lot and in three other subjects for the Palace Brignole Sale. His brother Domenico (1670–1746) helped paint the Duomo of Turin with a glory of angels. In his home town a city street and a secondary school are dedicated to the painter. More

 Alexandre Denis Abel de Pujol, French, 1787-1861.
Ixion chained in Tartarus. 1824
Oil on canvas

George Fredrick Watts. British. 1817-1904
Endymion, c. 1872
Oil on canvas
52 x 65 cm

Heinrich Friedrich Fuger. German. 1751-1818.
Prometheus brings fire to mankind. 1817
Oil on canvas

Jean Charles Frontier. French. 1701-1763
Vulcan chaining Prometheus. 1744
Oil on canvas. 

Jean Louis Théodore Géricault (1791–1824)
The Raft of the Medusa, c. 1818 and 1819
Oil on canvas
491 × 716 cm (193.3 × 281.9 in)
Louvre Museum

George Frederic Watts, O.M., R.A., 1817-1904
oil on canvas
92 by 71cm., 36 by 28in

The present work dates from the late 1870s. Watts used a similar type of composition showing a bust length, partly draped female for The Wife of Pygmalion, exhibited in 1868. In his sculpture of Clytie, worked on mainly in the 1860s, the figure also turns her head, thus focusing attention on the neck and torso. A Bacchante shows Watts' continuing reference to classicism, even in his late carer. Here he depicts a semi-nude, draped female, and draws upon classical subject matter in the use of a Bacchante whose revels in honour of the god Dionysus are over. More

Titian, (1490–1576)
Perseus and Andromeda, c. between 1554 and 1556
Oil on canvas
Height: 185 cm (72.8 in). Width: 199 cm (78.3 in).
Wallace Collection, London, England

Arthur Spooner, 1873 - 1962
Oil on canvas
107 by 51cm., 42 by 20in.

Philip John Thornhill, 1875-1912
Oil on canvas
101.5 by 51cm., 40 by 20in.

In the epic poetry of Greece Andromeda was the fated daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia of Ethiopia. Doomed to be given in sacrifice to a sea-monster named Cetus after her vain mother offended the gods by claiming to be more beautiful than the Nereids, the princess was bound to rocks on the shore to await the beast. Returning from slaying the gorgon Medusa, Perseus saw the beautiful Andromeda and vowed to save her, to win her hand in marriage. The subject of Andromeda's sacrifice was popular with Victorian artists as a pretext for sexually charged nudity – the eroticism justified by the classical origins of the story. More

Jacopo del Sellaio, (Italian (Florentine), about 1441–1493)
Story of Psyche, c. 1490
Tempera and oil on panel (cassone panel)
42.1 x 151.8 cm (16 9/16 x 59 3/4 in.)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Venus was jealous of the maiden Psyche and sent Cupid, her son, to make Psyche fall in love with an insignificant man. However, Cupid fell in love with Psyche himself, visiting her in the dark to keep his identity secret. Here, Psyche, at right, views the sleeping Cupid to discover his identity. But oil from her lamp falls on Cupid, awakening him, and he abandons Psyche for her faithlessness. Sellaio’s style is based on that of the principal Florentine painters of his time, particularly Botticelli. More

Bartholomeus Breenbergh, 1598 - 1657 Amsterdam
Oil on panel
14 1/4 by 18 1/2 in.; 36.2 by 47 cm.
Private Collection

Bartholomeus Breenbergh (before 13 November 1598 – after 3 October 1657) was a Dutch Golden Age painter of Italian and Italianate landscapes, in Rome (1619-1630) and Amsterdam (1630-1657).

Bartholomeus Breenbergh, 1598 - 1657 Amsterdam

At about age twenty, Breenbergh went to Rome and was influenced by the intimate, deeply poetic landscapes of German expatriate Adam Elsheimer. Breenbergh belonged to the first generation of Dutch Italianates, artists who traveled to Italy in the 1620s and were inspired by its light and atmosphere. With Cornelis van Poelenburgh, whose early style is very similar, Breenbergh helped to bring the Italianate tradition of landscape to the Low Countries, reflecting a fascination on the part of northern European artists with Italian landscapes rather than with the local topography. More

Flemish school of the 17th century
Orpheus Controlling Nature 
Oil on panel
18x32 cm
Private Collection

Acknowledgement: Sotheby's

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