Tuesday, January 24, 2017

10 Paintings, Olympian deities in classical Hellenic Mythology, by the Old Masters, with footnotes #8

Jan Brueghel (I),
Latona and the Lycian Peasants c. 1605
Oil on panel, 
h 37cm × w 56cm
Rijksmuseum

In Greek mythology, Leto is a daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe, the sister of Asteria, and the mother, by Zeus, of Apollo and Artemis.

The island of Kos is claimed as her birthplace. In the Olympian scheme, Zeus is the father of her twins, Apollo and Artemis, the Letoides, which Leto conceived after her hidden beauty accidentally caught the eyes of Zeus. Classical Greek myths record little about Leto other than her pregnancy and her search for a place where she could give birth to Apollo and Artemis, since Hera in her jealousy had caused all lands to shun her. Finally, she finds an island that is not attached to the ocean floor so it is not considered land and she can give birth.

Jan Brueghel (I),
Latona and the Lycian Peasants c. 1605
Detail, Latona tired and parched

When Leto was wandering the earth after giving birth to Apollo and Artemis; tired and parched, Latona halts to quench her thirst at a pond. The peasants there refused to allow her to do so by stirring the mud at the bottom of the pond. Leto turned them into frogs for their inhospitality, forever doomed to swim in the murky waters of ponds and rivers. Two peasants already have a frog’s head.

Jan Brueghel (I),
Latona and the Lycian Peasants c. 1605
Detail, Two peasants already have a frog’s head


Jan Brueghel the Younger, ANTWERP 1601 - 1678
LATONA AND THE LYCIAN PEASANTS
Oil on panel
15 by 22 in.; 38.1 by 55.8 cm. 
Private Collection

Jan Brueghel the Younger (13 September 1601 – 1 September 1678) was a Flemish Baroque painter, and the son of Jan Brueghel the Elder. He was trained by his father and spent his career producing works in a similar style. Along with his brother Ambrosius, he produced landscapes, allegorical scenes and other works of meticulous detail. Brueghel also copied works by his father and sold them with his father's signature. His work is distinguishable from that of his parent by being less well executed and lighter.

Jan the Younger was traveling in Italy when his father died of cholera, and swiftly returned to take control of the Antwerp studio. After the death of his father he changed his signature from 'Brueghel' to 'Breughel'. He soon established himself and was made dean of the Guild of Saint Luke in 1630. That same year he was commissioned by the French court to paint Adam Cycle. In the following years, he also produced paintings for the Austrian court, and worked independently in Paris, before returning to Antwerp in 1657. He collaborated with a number of prominent artists. More Jan Brueghel 

Claude Vignon, (Paris 1593-1670) 
Persephone's abduction/ The Rape of Proserpina
Oil on canvas
63 x 77cm - 24 3/4 X 30 1/4 IN. 
Private Collection

Persephone's abduction/ The Rape of Proserpina. In Greek mythology, Persephone (also known as Proserpina) was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter (goddess of agriculture) and was queen of the Underworld. One day while the young maiden was picking flowers, Hades, god of the underworld, kidnapped Persephone and carried her back to the underworld to be his wife.

Demeter begged Zeus to command the release of her daughter, and Persephone was told that she would be released from the underworld, as long as she didn't consume any food while she was there. But when she thought no one was looking, Persephone went into the garden and ate six pomegranate seeds. She was thus doomed to spend six months of the year with Hades, while for the other six months she could return to Earth to see her mother. The myth holds that the months Persephone spends in the underworld leave the earth cold, dark, and wintry, but when she returns, spring and summer accompany her.

Modern readers should note that in Bernini's time the word "rape" signified "kidnapping"; thus, the sculpture thus represents the kidnapping of Persephone. More

Claude-Joseph Vernet (born Aug. 14, 1714, Avignon, France—died Dec. 3, 1789, Paris) was a French landscape and marine painter whose finest works, the series of 15 Ports of France (1754–65), constitute a remarkable record of 18th-century life.

The son of a decorative painter, Vernet worked in Rome (1734–53), finding inspiration both in the expansive, luminous art of the 17th-century French master Claude Lorrain and in the dramatic and picturesque work of the 17th-century Italian painter Salvator Rosa. Vernet’s shipwrecks, sunsets, and conflagrations reveal an unusually subtle observation of light and atmosphere. With his compatriot Hubert Robert, he catered to a new taste for idealized, somewhat sentimentalized landscapes. After returning to Paris he became a member of the French Royal Academy and was commissioned by King Louis XV to paint the port series. The decline in his later work is attributed to overproduction. The family tradition of painting was maintained by his son Carle Vernet and his grandson Horace Vernet. More

Giovanni Battista Langetti, GENOA 1635 - 1676 VENICE
KING PRIAM RETRIEVING THE BODY OF HIS SON HECTOR
Oil on canvas
194.8 x 274.2 cm.; 76 5/8  x 108 in.
Private Collection

In Greek mythology, Hector was a Trojan prince and the greatest fighter for Troy in the Trojan War. As the first-born son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba. He was a prince of the royal house and the heir apparent to his father's throne. Homer places Hector as peace-loving, thoughtful as well as bold, a good son, husband and father. More

Achilles’ most notable feat during the Trojan War was the slaying of Hector outside the gates of Troy. Priam (hector's father) himself goes to claim his son's body, and Hermes grants him safe passage by casting a charm that will make anyone who looks at him fall asleep. More

Giovanni Battista Langetti (1625–1676), also known as Giambattista Langetti, was an Italian late-Baroque painter. He was active in his native Genoa, then Rome, and finally for the longest period in Venice.

He first trained with Assereto, then Pietro da Cortona, but afterwards studied under Giovanni Francesco Cassana, appeared in Venice by the 1650s where he worked in a striking Caravaggesque style. He is thought to have influenced Johann Karl Loth and Antonio Zanchi. He painted many historical busts for private patrons in the Venetian territory and in Lombardy. He died at Venice in 1676. More

Jacques-Louis David, (1748–1825)
Andromache Mourning Over Body of Hector, c. 1783
275 × 203 cm (108.3 × 79.9 in)
Louvre Museum

Andromache Mourning Hector is a 1783 oil painting by Jacques-Louis David. The painting depicts an image from Homer's Iliad, showing Andromache, comforted by her son, mourning over her husband Hector, who has been killed by Achilles.[1] This painting, presented on 23 August 1783, brought David election to the Académie Royale in 1784. More Andromache

Jacques-Louis David (30 August 1748 – 29 December 1825) was a French painter in the Neoclassical style, considered to be the preeminent painter of the era. In the 1780s his cerebral brand of history painting marked a change in taste away from Rococo frivolity toward a classical austerity and severity, heightened feeling harmonizing with the moral climate of the final years of the Ancien Régime.

David later became an active supporter of the French Revolution and friend of Maximilien Robespierre (1758–1794), and was effectively a dictator of the arts under the French Republic. Imprisoned after Robespierre's fall from power, he aligned himself with yet another political regime upon his release: that of Napoleon, The First Consul of France. At this time he developed his Empire style, notable for its use of warm Venetian colours. After Napoleon's fall from Imperial power and the Bourbon revival, David exiled himself to Brussels, then in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, where he remained until his death. David had a large number of pupils, making him the strongest influence in French art of the early 19th century, especially academic Salon painting. More

Studio of Francesco Solimena, CANALE DI SERINO, 1657 - 1747 BARRA
JUNO, ACCOMPANIED BY IRIS, GIVES ARGUS CHARGE OF IO, TRANSFORMED INTO A COW
Oil on canvas
58.8 x 73.7 cm.; 23 1/8  x 29 in.
Private Collection

Io was, in Greek mythology, one of the mortal lovers of Zeus. She was an ancestor of many kings and heroes such as: Perseus, Cadmus, Heracles, Minos, Lynceus, Cepheus, and Danaus. The astronomer Simon Marius conceived a name for one of Jupiter's moons after Io in 1614, coming into use later.

Io was a priestess of the Goddess Hera in Argos, whose cult her father Inachus was supposed to have introduced to Argos. Zeus noticed Io, a mortal woman, and lusted after her. In the version of the myth told in Prometheus Bound she initially rejected Zeus' advances, until her father threw her out of his house on the advice of oracles. According to some stories, Zeus then turned Io into a heifer in order to hide her from his wife; others maintain that Hera herself transformed Io.

In the version of the story in which Zeus transformed Io, the deception failed, and Hera begged Zeus to give her the heifer as a present, which, having no reason to refuse, he did. Hera then sent Argus Panoptes, who had 100 eyes, to watch Io and prevent Zeus from visiting her, and so Zeus sent Hermes to distract and eventually slay Argus. According to Ovid, he did so by first lulling him to sleep by playing the panpipes and telling stories. Zeus freed Io, still in the form of a heifer.

In order to exact her revenge, Hera sent a gadfly to sting Io continuously, driving her to wander the world without rest. Io eventually crossed the path between the Propontis and the Black Sea, which thus acquired the name Bosporus (meaning ox passage), where she met Prometheus, who had been chained on Mt. Caucasus by Zeus. Prometheus comforted Io with the information that she would be restored to human form and become the ancestress of the greatest of all heroes, Heracles (Hercules). Io escaped across the Ionian Sea to Egypt, where she was restored to human form by Zeus. There, she gave birth to Zeus's son Epaphus, and a daughter as well, Keroessa. She later married Egyptian king Telegonus. Their grandson, Danaos, eventually returned to Greece with his fifty daughters (the Danaids), as recalled in Aeschylus' play The Suppliants. More Io

Francesco Solimena (October 4, 1657 – April 3, 1747) was a prolific Italian painter of the Baroque era, one of an established family of painters and draughtsmen. He received early training from his father, Angelo Solimena, with whom he executed a Paradise for the cathedral of Nocera and a Vision of St. Cyril of Alexandria for the church of San Domenico at Solofra.

He settled in Naples in 1674, there he worked in the studio of Francesco di Maria and later Giacomo del Po. He apparently had taken the clerical orders, but was patronized early on, and encouraged to become an artist by Cardinal Vincenzo Orsini (later Pope Benedict XIII). By the 1680s, he had independent fresco commissions, and his active studio came to dominate Neapolitan painting from the 1690s through the first four decades of the 18th century. He modeled his art—for he was a highly conventional painter—after the Roman Baroque masters. Solimena painted many frescoes in Naples, altarpieces, celebrations of weddings and courtly occasions, mythological subjects, characteristically chosen for their theatrical drama, and portraits. His settings are suggested with a few details—steps, archways, balustrades, columns—concentrating attention on figures and their draperies, caught in pools and shafts of light. Art historians take pleasure in identifying the models he imitated or adapted in his compositions. His numerous preparatory drawings often mix media, combining pen-and-ink, chalk and watercolor washes. More

Ferdinand Leeke (April 7, 1859 - 1923)
Bacchante, 1895 
Oil on canvas
Private Collection

In Greek mythology, maenads were the female followers of Dionysus and the most significant members of the Thiasus, the god's retinue. Their name literally translates as "raving ones." Maenads were known as Bassarids, Bacchae or Bacchantes in Roman mythology, after the penchant of the equivalent Roman god, Bacchus, to wear a bassaris or fox-skin.

Often the maenads were portrayed as inspired by Dionysus into a state of ecstatic frenzy through a combination of dancing and intoxication. During these rites, the maenads would dress in fawn skins and carry a thyrsus, a long stick wrapped in ivy or vine leaves and tipped with a pine cone. They would weave ivy-wreaths around their heads or wear a bull helmet in honor of their god, and often handle or wear snakes. More Bacchante

Ferdinand Leeke (April 7, 1859 - 1923) was a German Painter, famous for his depictions of scenes from Wagnerian Operas. A native of Burg bei Magdeburg, Germany, he studied at the Munich Academy under Johann Herterich (1843-1905), a genre and historical painter, and with Alexander von Wagner (1838-1919), a Hungarian genre and landscape painter. More.

Peter Paul Rubens
Venus Frigida, 1614
Oil on panel,
145.1 x 185.6 x 3.8 cm
Photograph: Hugo Maertens
Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp

Venus is a Mediterranean goddess. Her enchanted home is the isle of Cyprus. This classical deity personifies not only Love, but Love in a warm climate, with grapes, wine and nudity. So what happens when she travels north? Rubens portrays her shivering with cold in a glowering landscape, her nudity exposed to the wintry north. His painting illustrates a classical adage that says: ‘Without Bacchus and Ceres, Venus freezes.’ Love in winter, in other words, needs good food, good booze and a cosy bedroom. 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

Follower of Reverend Matthew William Peters, R.A.
PORTRAIT OF MISS MORTIMER AS HEBE
Oil on canvas
65.5 x 54 cm.; 25 3/4  x 21 1/4  in.
Private Collection

Miss Mortimer was the sister of the artist John Hamilton Mortimer, a close friend of Peters' who had studied with him in Hudson's studio. The daughter of Zeus and the Greek goddess of youth, Hebe was a popular subject in art in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, particularly as a female personification in portraiture, and even some of the most aristocratic of models allowed for a degree of nudity, such as the exposing of a single breast. Here Miss Mortimer has allowed herself to be portrayed with both breasts exposed, feeding her father Zeus in the guise of an eagle - a representation of eternal youth. In classical mythology the eagle, like the phoenix, was believed to have the ability to renew itself to a youthful state. More


Honoré Daumier
Women Pursued by Satyrs, c.  1879
Oil on canvas
132 x 98 cm
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal

Honoré-Victorin Daumier (February 26, 1808 – February 10, 1879) was a French printmaker, caricaturist, painter, and sculptor, whose many works offer commentary on social and political life in France in the 19th century.

Daumier produced over 500 paintings, 4000 lithographs, 1000 wood engravings, 1000 drawings and 100 sculptures. A prolific draughtsman, he was perhaps best known for his caricatures of political figures and satires on the behavior of his countrymen, although posthumously the value of his painting has also been recognized.

Daumier was born in Marseille. His father Jean-Baptiste was a glazier whose literary aspirations led him to move to Paris in 1814, seeking to be published as a poet. In 1816 the young Daumier and his mother followed Jean-Baptiste to Paris. Daumier showed in his youth an irresistible inclination towards the artistic profession, which his father vainly tried to check by placing him first with a huissier. In 1822 he became protégé to Alexandre Lenoir, a friend of Daumier's father who was an artist and archaeologist. The following year Daumier entered the Académie Suisse. He also worked for a lithographer and publisher named Belliard, and made his first attempts at lithography.

Having mastered the techniques of lithography, Daumier began his artistic career by producing plates for music publishers, and illustrations for advertisements. This was followed by anonymous work for publishers, in which he emulated the style of Charlet and displayed considerable enthusiasm for the Napoleonic legend. After the revolution of 1830 he created art which expressed his political beliefs. Daumier was almost blind by 1873. More Honoré-Victorin Daumier

Allan Douglas Davidson
A woodland nymph
Oil on board
26.6 x 26.6cm (10 1/2 x 10 1/2in)
Private Collection

Allan Douglas Davidson, R.B.A., R.O.I., R.M.S. (1873–1932) was an English painter who predominantly worked in oils and specialized in female nudes.  He was born in London on 14 May 1873. His father was the historical painter Thomas Davidson (1842–1919). Allan studied art at the Royal Academy Schools in London, where he won a medal and the Armitage Prize, he also studied at the Académie Julian in Paris. He was elected to the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 1921 and was also a member of the Langham Sketching Club. 

He lived the majority of his life in London before retiring to Walberswick in Suffolk. He died on 19 April 1932 More Allan Douglas Davidson




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