Sunday, July 22, 2018

Relatively Recent Depictions of the Mythical Ariadne

Jules Olitski
Ariadne Orange
Phillips Collection, Washington DC

Frank Auerbach
Bacchus and Ariadne (after Titian)
oil on panel
Tate Gallery

Sir Francis Cook
Composition for Bacchus and Ariadne
oil on panel
Sir Francis Cook Gallery, Island of Jersey

Giorgio de Chirico
Sleeping Ariadne
(Design for drop-curtain for Albert Roussel's ballet Bacchus and Ariadne)

ca. 1931
tempera on paper
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut

The prototype for Giorgio de Chirico's Ariadne (above) was the famous antique figure at the Vatican in Rome (below), known variously as the Belvedere Cleopatra or Sleeping Ariadne.  The Cleopatra identity prevailed for the first few hundred years after the sculpture's discovery and radical restoration in the early 16th century.  Only toward the end of the 18th century did the piece's alternate identity as Sleeping Ariadne become the dominant interpretation.  This was also the time when images of the abandoned, helpless, mournful, languishing and often sleeping Ariadne proliferated in every sort of European artwork.  This passive, ill-treated woman (eventually redeemed by the adoration of Bacchus/Dionysus) retained her popularity with artists throughout the 19th century, as we shall see in forthcoming posts, but has gradually declined in the estimation of the art public since that time.

James Anderson
Belvedere Cleopatra or Sleeping Ariadne
ca. 1845-55
albumen silver print
Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Joseph Southall
Ariadne on Naxos
tempera on linen
Birmingham Museums Trust, West Midlands

Bryson Burroughs
Consolation of Ariadne
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Francis S. Walker
Ariadne Forsaken
ca. 1911
color mezzotint
British Museum

Herbert James Draper
Ariadne deserted by Theseus
before 1920
oil on canvas
Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, North Yorkshire

Raphaël Drouart
Bacchus and Ariadne
before 1925
Cleveland Museum of Art

Kenyon Cox
Dionysos and Ariadne
(Design for chapter-heading or tailpiece)

before 1919
Princeton University Art Museum

Lovis Corinth
Theseus and Ariadne
Cleveland Museum of Art

Hans Schuler
Ariadne deserted on the Isle of Naxos
Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland

"Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos, fell in love with Theseus of Athens.  According to the Greek myth, she accompanied Theseus when he left Crete, but was later abandoned by him on the island of Naxos.  Hans Schuler (1874-1951), a native of Lorraine in present-day France, was raised in Baltimore and attended the School of Art and Design at the Maryland Institute.  He received the Rinehart Prize, enabling him to study in Paris.  After receiving awards at the Paris Salon, Schuler returned to Baltimore, where he pursued a highly successful career as the city's leading sculptor, and founded the Schuler School of Fine Art."

– curator's notes from Walters Art Museum

Henri Fantin-Latour
Art Institute of Chicago

John La Farge
Bacchus and Ariadne
ca. 1880
Cleveland Museum of Art

"In the early 1880s, John La Farge worked with a team of artists, including the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, to produce decorations for the home of the American industrialist Cornelius Vanderbilt.  La Farge's designs made many allusions to the art of the Italian Renaissance and to the splendid decorations created for the Medici banking family in Florence.  In this drawing he used a medium common in Italian drawings – red chalk – in self-conscious emulation of Renaissance practice."

– curator's notes from the Cleveland Museum of Art