Late 17th century Roman school, attributed to Carlo Maratta. Oil on canvas.
Our painting illustrates an episode from Greek mythology depicting the moment when the nymph Arethusa is enveloped in a thick, swirling fog to escape the river god Alpheus, who is pursuing her. In the midst of his pursuit, Alpheus embraces the cloud, thinking he's embracing the beauty who's running away from him. To accentuate the composition's centripetal movement, the gestures and gazes of the other protagonists (reclining river god, nymphs crowned with flowers and leaves, and putti) are directed towards the couple.
This Baroque work is a synthesis of the "Disegno-Colore" (drawing-color) debate that has pitted painters against each other since the 16th century. In Rome more so than in Tuscany. From the 1660s onwards, and after the death of Andrea Sacchi, Carlo Maratta's compositions freed themselves from a certain austerity, opening up to the classical current then circulating. His painting became more decorative, with a more colorful palette and a softer brush. Our painting can be compared with other works by Carlo Maratta from this period: Apollo Chasing Daphne (1681, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles) or The Discovery of Remus and Romulus (between 1680 and 1692, Palais du Sans-Souci, Potsdam).
We have chosen to present this painting in an elegant Italian carved and gilded wood frame with foliage decoration.
Dimensions: 64 x 49 cm - 79 x 64 cm with frame
The myth of Alpheus and Arethusa:
In classical Greece, the gods, in whose hands the fate of civilization lay, inspired numerous legends and myths. The city of Syracuse, heir to Greek culture and traditions, cultivates one of these beautiful legends, the myth of Arethusa and Alpheus.