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More Than Portraits: the paintings of Diego Velazquez 7 Late Portraits and Myths
Soon after Diego Velázquez (1599–1660) had painted Las Hilanderas, he was arranging his second visit to Italy. Diego Velázquez (1599–1660), A Country Lass (La Gallega) (1645-50) , oil on canvas, 65 x 51 cm, Private collection. Wikimedia Commons. It is thought that another painting which he started prior to... Read more
The best of 2018’s paintings and articles 1
Last year I greatly enjoyed looking at a very wide range of paintings, particularly those from the nineteenth century, and those bearing narrative. In this article and tomorrow’s, I look back at some of the year’s high points which I hope merit revisiting. I stumbled across a most unusual... Read more
Favourite Paintings 18: Sandro Botticelli, Primavera (Spring), c 1482
One of the most famous paintings of the Italian Renaissance, and one of the later huge works in egg tempera, its interpretation remains controversial. Painter Sandro Botticelli (Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi) Painting Primavera (Spring, the Allegory of Spring) Year c 1482 Media tempera grassa on panel Dimensions... Read more
The Story in Paintings: Poussin’s Empire of Flora
Many of the finest paintings by masters of narrative painting are notoriously difficult to read, and remain controversial centuries after they were created. This article looks at one of the most beautiful of these, Nicolas Poussin’s (1594–1665) The Empire of Flora (also known as The Realm of Flora) (1631).... Read more
Hesiod’s Brush, the paintings of Gustave Moreau: 13 Jupiter and Semele
Gustave Moreau started work on his last major painting by 1889, and seems to have concentrated on it most in 1894-95. The story at the heart of it is one of the strangest in classical myth, and has not been a particularly popular narrative for paintings. It is drawn,... Read more
Fire, surgery, and surrogate pregnancy: an unpaintable story?
Many classical myths must have seemed far-fetched even to the ancient Greeks and Romans. There is none so extraordinary as that told by Ovid in his Metamorphoses of the love affair between Jupiter and Semele. When I recently wrote about it in my series on Gustave Moreau, I wanted... Read more
Changing Stories: Ovid’s Metamorphoses on canvas, 1 – Lycaon, cannibalism, and werewolves
The first book of Ovid’s Metamorphoses starts, just like the Bible and several other major compilations of ancient writing, with the creation of the world. You may be tempted to view Metamorphoses as the classical Roman version of a pagan Bible, but that would be extremely misleading. All cultures... Read more
Changing Stories: Ovid’s Metamorphoses on canvas, 2 – Deucalion, the flood, and Python
In Ovid’s account of the creation, Jupiter, the king of the gods, wants to destroy mankind because of its unacceptable behaviour, and to create a new, better type of human. At first he intends doing this by fire, but decides that a flood is the preferred solution. The Story... Read more
Infanticide: Astyanax and making of myth
Whatever the historical basis for the myths of the Trojan War, one of the great challenges is discovering how those myths changed between about 1200 BCE (when Troy most possibly fell) and the appearance of the first coherent accounts several hundred years later. This article looks at the evolution... Read more
Parallel hypertext: Storyspace metamorphosed 1
So far, my explorations of hypertext and Storyspace have been confined to non-fiction. Having recently started a series looking at the best paintings of stories from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, I thought this might be a good opportunity to set some of the finest narrative from the classics into hypertext. Given... Read more