Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Sphinxes in Two Dimensions

Luzio Luzzi
Reclining Sphinx with Small Ape
before 1575
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Annibale Carracci
Male Sphinx
before 1609
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Carlo Maratti after Annibale Carracci
Winged Sphinx and another Ornamental Motif
after frescoes in Galleria Farnese, Rome

before 1713
Royal Collection, Great Britain

Henry Fuseli
Oedipus and the Sphinx (after Sophocles)
British Museum

Louis-Jean Desprez
Sepulchre in Egyptian Style with Sphinxes and Owl
ca. 1779-84
wash drawing
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Maxime Du Camp
Sphinx, Giza (partially excavated)
salted paper print
Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Elihu Vedder
The Questioner of the Sphinx
oil on canvas
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
Oedipus and the Sphinx
oil on canvas
Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

Georg von Rosen
The Sphinx
oil on canvas
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

Cadmus and Harmonia

Far, far from here,
The Adriatic breaks in a warm bay
Among the green Illyrian hills; and there
The sunshine in the happy glens is fair,
And by the sea, and in the brakes.
The grass is cool, the sea-side air
Buoyant and fresh, the mountain flowers
More virginal and sweet than ours.

And there, they say, two bright and aged snakes,
Who once were Cadmus and Harmonia,
Bask in the glens or on the warm sea-shore,
In breathless quiet, after all their ills;
Nor do they see their country, nor the place
Where the Sphinx lived among the frowning hills,
Nor the unhappy palace of their race,
Nor Thebes, nor the Ismenus, any more.

There those two live, far in the Illyrian brakes!
They had stay'd long enough to see,
In Thebes, the billow of calamity
Over their own dear children roll'd,
Curse upon curse, pang upon pang,
For years, they sitting helpless in their home,
A grey old man and woman; yet of old
The Gods had to their marriage come,
And at the banquet all the Muses sang.

Therefore they did not end their days
In sight of blood, but were rapt, far away,
To where the west-wind plays,
And murmurs of the Adriatic come
To those untrodden mountain-lawns; and there
Placed safely in changed forms, the pair
Wholly forgot their first sad life, and home,
And all that Theban woe, and stray
For ever through the glens, placid and dumb.

– Matthew Arnold (1852)

Odilon Redon
before 1916
Morgan Library, New York

Johannes Josephus Aarts
Oedipus and the Sphinx
before 1934
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Leon Golub
Wounded Sphinx
Tate Gallery

Joseph Beuys
Electric Sphinx
Tate Gallery

Ivor Abrahams
The Sphinx
Tate Gallery

Francis Bacon
Oedipus and the Sphinx (after Ingres)
oil on canvas
Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon