In the heart of a magnificent landscape unfolds a mythological scene, drawn from the story of Céphale and Procris.
One day Cephalus, son of Hermes and Herse, goes hunting, accompanied by his dogs and equipped with his magic crossbow whose arrows always reach their goal. Deceived by the noise, coming from the bushes, and thinking of the game, he throws an arrow and accidentally kills his wife, Procris, who hides in the bushes, jealousy, spying on her husband.
Thus we are in the presence of unhappy spouses, settled against a rock, at the moment when Cephalus tries to withdraw the arrow from the breast of his wife. Large trees on each side in the shadow frame this scene, whose theatrical aspect is emphasized by numerous shadows and area of ??lights, which make retreat as far as the horizon bluish. On the left, slightly in the background, a shepherd walks with his flock and ignores the tragedy unfolding next door. In this way a contrast is created where the tranquility of the landscape, warm and soft light contrast with the mythological drama. The foliage of the trees are delicately highlighted by the traditional color palette of brown, green and blue, which delimit the space and create depth thanks to the change of colors (browns in the foreground towards the blues in the horizon ). The admiring contemplation of nature is transmitted to us through the know-how and skill of the artist.
Our panel is a work of Paul Bril's studio, a variant of a desappeared work known through an engraving executed by William van Nieulandt, a student of Paul Bril (exhibited at the Rijksmuseum.
Oil on poplar panel, 17th century.
With a beautiful brown tortoiseshell veneered frame.
Dimensions of the panel excluding frame: H. 28 cm, W. 36.5, with the frame: H. 39 cm, W. 47.5 cm
Paul Bril (1533, Antwerp - 1626, Rome) is a Flemish school painter and engraver from Antwerp, active in Rome from 1582 until his death Paul Bril is known for his landscapes animated by hunters or decorated with mythological scenes. Dark and light areas, the successive play of blues, greens and yellows become the usual pattern of these pleasantly arranged backstage views, with deep perspectives, traversed by a powerful and dull plant lyricism and luminism.The reputation of Bril was immense and in 1620 already, a Roman lover Mancini put him in the forefront of the landscape after Carrache. He painted landscape frescoes in various churches and palaces of popes and cardinals in Rome. However, it owes its fame to its small format landscapes on copper or panel. He also left many drawings.