Huge clam shells were a common feature in paintings of the birth of Venus, and other classical myths. They also feature in many ‘vanitas’ paintings.
An offshoot of still life paintings of food, it was never very popular, and most of these are decidedly odd. From Jan Brueghel the elder to
From the Adoration of the Shepherds to the Corydon Shepherd of Virgil’s Eclogues, they all had their crooks.
It’s unusual and difficult to make humorous paintings. Here’s a fine selection from Bosch, Brueghel and Rubens to the late 19th century.
After 1600, series of four paintings fell from favour, and artists, particularly the Brueghel family, combined all into single images.
An exotic import until the Romans enlisted her support against the Carthaginians, her chariot is drawn by a lion and lioness – who desecrated an old shrine.
Two masterpieces of the Western canon turn a minor tale about a nymph into major narratives: Botticelli and Poussin explored.
From an elevated viewpoint, finely detailed, great depth, figures and buildings tiny in the immensity of the view, far distant horizon – it’s a World View.
Aglaea (representing splendor), Euphrosyne (mirth), and Thalia (good cheer), who together represent the better aspects of human nature, bit got Burne-Jones into trouble.
Although painting and sculpture are closely allied, it’s curious to depict sculpture in painting. Examples range from early grisailles to ribald depictions of the Roman god Priapus.