Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Visual Relics (1825-1850)

George Richmond
The Fatal Bellman
Minneapolis Institute of Art

Richard Parkes Bonington
Doge's Palace, Venice
oil on board
Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
Small Bather
oil on canvas
Phillips Collection, Washington DC

Jonas Welch Holman
Man with a Pen
ca. 1827
oil on panel
Art Institute of Chicago

Isaac Cruikshank
Cricket Grounds at Darnall, Sheffield, Yorkshire
ca. 1827
drawing (print study)
British Museum

Peter De Wint
Study for The Ferry
after 1829
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Robert Walter Weir
The Poet's Dream
ca. 1830
Detroit Institute of Arts

Joseph Anton Koch
Hylas seized by the Nymphs
oil on canvas
Städel Museum, Frankfurt

Eugène Delacroix
etching and aquatint
Milwaukee Art Museum

Christen Købke
Minneapolis Institute of Art

Robert or Mary Smirke
Wooded Scene with Couple lying under a Tree
(illustration to Shakespeare)
before 1845
watercolor and gouache
Yale Center for British Art

Eugène Delacroix
Path on the Side of a Mountain, Eaux-Bonnes, Pyrénées
(formerly owned by Edgar Degas)
Yale University Art Gallery

Ary Scheffer
Christ the Comforter
ca. 1847
oil on canvas
Centraal Museum, Utrecht

Rembrandt Peale
Pearl of Grief
oil on canvas
Milwaukee Art Museum

Alfred Rethel
Death as a Friend
(series, Dance of Death)
Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio

Paul Gavarni
Parisian Couple in Carnival Dress
Relieving Themselves

ca. 1850
gouache on paper
Princeton University Art Museum

What god, o Muses, fended off such fierce
fires from the Teucrians? Who saved their ships
from such a blazing conflagration? Tell me.
For that which makes us trust the tale is old,
and yet the story's fame is everlasting.

When he prepared to seek high seas, Aeneas
first built his fleet in Phrygian Ida; then
the Berecynthian herself, the mother
of gods, is said to have addressed these words
to mighty Jove: "My son, now you have won
Olympus, listen to my prayer, grant
what your dear mother asks. I had a forest
of pine, which I had loved for many years,
upon my mountain's summit, where men brought
their offerings to me; here, shadowed, stood
a grove of black pitch trees and trunks of maples.
I gave these gladly to the Dardan chief
when he had need to build a fleet. But anxious
fear now torments my troubled breast. Free me
of dread and answer this, a mother's prayer:
that in their journeying no wave or whirlwind
may ever tear these timbers; let it be
a help to them that they grew on my mountain."

Her son, who turns the constellations, answered:
"Why, Mother, have you called upon the Fates?
What are you asking for your favorites?
That hulls made by the hands of mortals should
have the immortals' privilege? And that
Aeneas may pass, sure, through unsure dangers?
What god commands that power? Nonetheless,
when they have fulfilled their tasks and reached their end
of journeying, the harbors of Ausonia, 
then all that have escaped the waves and carried
the Dardan leader to Laurentum's lands
are saved: I shall strip off their mortal form;
I shall command those galleys to take on
the shapes of goddesses of the great waters,
even as are the Nereids, Galatea
and Doto, whose breasts cut the foaming sea."
He spoke and by his Stygian brother's waters,
by riverbanks that seethe with pitch, a black
and whirling vortex, nodded his assent,
and with his nod made all Olympus shudder.

– why Turnus proves unable to burn the Trojan ships, from Book IX of Virgil's Aeneid, translated by Allen Mandelbaum (1971)