Thursday, June 9, 2022

01 Painting, Tales of Mermaids, Giulio Romano's Mermaid, with Footnotes, #16

Giulio Romano
Mermaid, with 7 breasts whereon suck many young mermaids
Oil on panel
Oil paint on wood panel,
94.3 x 99.5 cm

A mermaid is a marine creature with the head and upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish. Mermaids appear in the folklore of many cultures worldwide. The first stories appeared in ancient Assyria. Mermaids can be benevolent or beneficent.

A young mermaid in a billowing olive-green robe has seven children gathered in her arms. She is feeding them from her five breasts, and their fish-tails are interlaced. 

Giulio Romano (1499 – 1 November 1546), also known by his real name of Giulio Pippi, was an Italian painter and architect. A pupil of Raphael, his stylistic deviations from high Renaissance classicism help define the 16th-century style known as Mannerism. Giulio's drawings have long been treasured by collectors; contemporary prints of them engraved by Marcantonio Raimondi were a significant contribution to the spread of 16th-century Italian style throughout Europe.

As a young assistant in Raphael's studio, he worked on the frescos in the Vatican. Increasingly he became the master's right-hand man, despite his relative youth. After the death of Raphael in 1520, he helped complete the Vatican frescoes of the life of Constantine.

In late 1524 Giulio agreed to move to Mantua, where he remained for the rest of his life. He thus avoided the disaster of the Sack of Rome in 1527. He also helped rebuild the ducal palace in Mantua, reconstructed the cathedral, and designed the nearby Church of San Benedetto. Giulio. Sections of Mantua that had been flood-prone were refurbished under Giulio's direction, and the duke's patronage and friendship never faltered His studio became a popular school of art. More on Giulio Romano

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