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Franz van den Planken and Marc Coomans, Diana and Apollo Slaying the Children of Niobe
Biblical - Historical - Mythologic
1625 ca.
Material and technique
wool and silk
418 x 515 cm
Alessandro Zuccari
In Metamorphoses Ovid narrates the tragic story of the children of Niobe, slain by Apollo and Diana because of their mother’s great pride. The two deities are depicted on high, riding on clouds, as they release their fatal arrows against the designated victims. The children fall to the ground before the horrified gaze of Niobe, recognizable from the crown on her head, who tries to protect one of her offspring, opening her mouth to cry out.
Together with the two other tapestries depicting the story of Diana, this panel was one of a ten-piece series, probably based on a design by Toussaint Dubreil (Paris, 1561-1602) and woven in the Louvre workshop run by Franz van den Planken and Marc Coomans, better known as François de la Planche and Marc de Comans.
Dubreil’s refined late Mannerist style is strongly influenced in this work by mid-sixteenth-century Italian painting. There is a very evident connection with some of the figures in The Conversion of Saul which Michelangelo painted in the Pauline Chapel of the Vatican Palace.  The brilliantly coloured robes and the attitudes of the characters, highly moving and expressive, achieve nuances of tone and effects similar to those of the painting thanks to the masterly technique with which the panel was woven, probably around 1625.
Diana and Apollo Slaying the Children of Niobe
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