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Circle of Giuseppe Maria Crespi, The Infancy of Adonis
Biblical - Historical - Mythologic
1740 ca.
Material and technique
oil on canvas
44 x 52 cm
Alessandro Zuccari
The painting illustrates the beginning of the myth of Adonis. His mother Myrrha, daughter of the King of Cyprus, had been transformed into the plant that bears her name, from the trunk of which a beautiful male child was born. The tragic end of the story, where Adonis is killed by a boar, is perhaps more widely known. In the upper section of the painting, two cupids take part in the scene, while in the lower part the child is being looked after by two women, their robes fluttering in the breeze. They are probably Persephone and Aphrodite, who were placed in charge of the young Adonis and soon began to fight over him. The mythical story is set in a large and varied landscape, depicted with quick, lively brushstrokes.
The small painting is attributed to the circle of the Bolognese painter Giuseppe Maria Crespi, an energetic and creative artist who was known above all for his paintings of profane subjects in tones of Venetian inspiration. The painting is strongly influenced by the seventeenth-century landscape artists of the Po Valley, notably Ippolito Scarsella, from Ferrara, known as ‘Scarsellino’. It dates from the early decades of the eighteenth century and is very similar to paintings of the same subject by Francesco Albani, Lorenzo Pasinelli and Gian Gioseffo del Sole, from the region of Emilia-Romagna.
The Infancy of Adonis
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