A series of motifs telling stories from classical mythology was completed with a breathtaking ceiling in the Sun King’s Royal Chapel at Versailles.
For the 200th anniversary of his death, a look back at paintings by this artist, a favourite of the Sun King. Here are mainly religious images.
Among the 2022 anniversaries are the 500th of the death of Piero di Cosimo, the centenary of the death of Léon Bonnat who taught Sargent and Munch, and the birth of animal painter Rosa Bonheur.
Developed in the mid 1600s, pastels are often considered to be the ‘purest’ form of painting, in which pure pigment is applied to the ground.
A common convention in paintings of classical myth, the river god was a bearded old man with a put pouring forth water, often seen with a Naiad, his daughter.
Ovid, through Achelous the river god, explains how the Horn of Plenty was wrenched from Achelous’ head in a fight with Hercules. With a gem of modern narrative painting too.
The early history of pastel, from Robert Nanteuil, through the brilliant portraits of Rosalba Carriera, to Maurice Quentin de La Tour, and the hyperrealism of Liotard.
The story of how the nymph Arethusa escapes pursuit by a river god, thanks to the divine intervention of Diana.
Some stories sound plausible, but are problematic when you try to paint or photograph them. Here’s a good example, with attempted solutions by Reni, Rubens, Moreau, and others.