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Giuseppe Diamantini, Acis and Galatea
Biblical - Historical - Mythologic
1690 ca.
Material and technique
oil on canvas
111 x 150 cm
Alessandro Zuccari
The subject of this painting, taken from Theocritus’ Idylls, depicts Galatea’s love for the handsome shepherd Acis. According to the myth, the Cyclops Polyphemus, also enamoured of the lovely Nereid, threw a huge rock at the young Sicilian, killing him. Galatea, wishing to keep alive the memory of her beloved, transformed Acis’ blood into the river near Catania which took his name. The scene is dominated by the two lovers locked in embrace and by a winged cupid draping a veil over them. In the background, are two tritons and in the distance, the coastline of Calabria.
The picture, originally in the Gualino Collection, was painted towards the end of the artist’s stay in Venice and can be dated around 1690. Stylistically, it reflects the Classicism of the Bolognese painters Marcantonio Franceschini and Lorenzo Pasinelli and the chromatic lyricism and sentimentality of Alessandro Varotari, known as ‘Il Padovanino’. The work also reveals close links with the neo-sixteenth-century references found in the paintings of the Venetian Pietro Liberi, with whom Diamantini, who came from the region of Le Marche, had a long-standing professional relationship. It is one the most successful late works of Diamantini, who specialized in erotic mythological easel paintings rather than in large-scale compositions.
Acis and Galatea
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