Saturday, July 7, 2018

French Neoclassical Paintings (now in Stockholm)

attributed to Jean-Baptiste Regnault
Sappho
ca. 1800
oil on canvas
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

One Girl

I.
Like the sweet apple which reddens upon the topmost bough,
Atop on the topmost twig, – which the pluckers forgot, somehow, –
Forgot it not, nay; but got it not, for none could get it till now.

II.
Like the wild hyacinth flower which on the hills is found,
Which the passing feet of the shepherds for ever tear & wound,
Until the purple blossom is trodden into the ground.

– from two fragments attributed to Sappho (ca. 620 BC), as translated and adapted by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1869)

François Boucher
Study for Danaë and the Shower of Gold
before 1770
oil on canvas
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

Noël-Nicolas Coypel
Judgement of Paris
1728
oil on canvas
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

from The Judgment of Paris

Warm'd as she spoke, all panting with delight,
Her kindling beauties breathed triumphant bloom;
And Cupids flutter'd round in circlets bright,
And Flora pour'd from all her stores perfume.

'Thine be the prize,' exclaim'd the enraptured youth,
'Queen of unrivall'd charms, and matchless joy.' –
O blind to fate, felicity, and truth!
But such are they whom Pleasure's snares decoy.

The Sun was sunk; the vision was no more;
Night downward rushed tempestuous, at the frown
Of Jove's awaken'd wrath: deep thunders roar,
And forests howl afar, and mountains groan,

And sanguine meteors glare athwart the plain;
With horror's screams the Ilian towers resound,
Raves the hoarse storm along the bellowing main,
And the strong earthquake rends the shuddering ground.

– James Beattie (1765)

François Boucher
Toilet of Venus
1740
oil on canvas
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

François Boucher
Triumph of Venus
1740
oil on canvas
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

Charles-Joseph Natoire
Apollo and Clytie
1745
oil on canvas
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

Charles-Joseph Natoire
Jupiter and Callisto
1745
oil on canvas
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

Callisto entered a forest whose trees no axe had deflowered,
and here she removed the quiver she wore on her shoulder and loosened
the strings of her supple bow; then laid herself down on the greensward,
resting her pure white neck on her painted quiver for pillow.
When Jupiter spied her lying exhausted and unprotected,
he reckoned: 'My wife will never discover this tiny betrayal;
or else, if she does, oh yes, the joy will make up for the scolding!'
At once he assumed the features and dress of the goddess Diana,
and said to the damsel, 'Young maiden, I see you are one of my dear
companions. Where on the slopes have you hunted today?'  The young maiden
raised herself up from the grass and replied, 'Hail, goddess! I judge you
greater than Jove, though he hear it himself.'  Jove chuckled to hear it,
delighted she judged him greater than Jove, and gave her a passionate
kiss on the lips, not the kiss that a virgin goddess would give.
As she started to detail where in the forest she'd hunted, he gripped her
tight in his arms, and his subsequent felony gave him away.
Callisto herself, as far as a feeble woman was able
(if only Juno had seen it, she would have been more understanding),
Callisto fought back; but indeed what man could a girl be a match for,
let alone Jupiter?  He, in the flush of his victory, made for
the sky; while she could only detest the forests and woodlands
which knew her secret.

– from the Metamorphoses of Ovid (AD 8), translated by David Raeburn (2004)

Charles-Joseph Natoire
River God and Fountain Nymph
before 1777
oil on canvas
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

Carle Vanloo
River God
before 1765
oil on canvas
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

Carle Vanloo
Naiad
before 1765
oil on canvas
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

Bénigne Gagneraux
Blind Oedipus commending his Children to the Gods
1784
oil on canvas
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

" . . .  let my fate go wherever it will go, but as to my children, do not take thought for the males, for they are men, and wherever they are will never fail to get a living.  But of my two girls, poor pitiable ones, for whom the table where I ate was never set apart so that they were without me, but they always shared in what I put a hand to – care for them!"

– from the Oedipus Tyrannus of Sophocles (429 BC), translated by Hugh Lloyd-Jones (1994) 

Louis Gauffier
Odysseus discovers Achilles amongst the daughters of Lycomedes
1791
oil on canvas
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

Carle Vanloo
Aeneas rescuing his father Anchises from the fire at Troy
before 1765
oil on canvas
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

François de Nomé
Burning of Troy with the flight of Aeneas and Anchises
before 1620
oil on canvas
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm