Our painting depicts an episode in mythological history, the loves of Hercules and Omphale.
Hercules during his adventures happens to be sold into slavery to the queen of Lydia, Omphale. Admiring his strength and exploits, the young woman fell in love and married him, but forced him to wear women's clothes and spin wool. Our work presents Hercules and Omphale in a grove surrounded by their servants and putti. Hercules, seated and wrapped in a pink cloth, is at his toilet. A mirror is presented to him so that he can admire his hairstyle decorated with red ribbons, his earrings as well as his pearl necklace. Busy spinning wool, he brandished with his muscular arms a distaff and a spindle. While Omphale stands, elegantly wearing the attributes of heroes, the skin of the Nemean Lion and the club. Gracefully swayed, her head slightly tilted, she loses neither her femininity nor her modesty. A Cupid at her feet holds in his hand the arrows that pierced the hearts of two lovers. Harmonious composition and the use of clear and obscure make it possible to highlight the white chairs of the characters, abundantly lit in the heart of a nocturnal landscape. This caravaggesque influence associated with roundness of flesh and a palette in shimmering colors nuanced by pink and red hues as well as the precision of the line and the drawing orient us towards a painter of the Verona school, an active artistic center between 1580 and 1630.
School of Verona, early 17th century.
Oil on pine panel Dimensions: panel: h. 51.5 cm, l. 38 cm
With frame: h. 61.5 cm, l. 48.5 cm
From the Renaissance this theme of Greek and Roman mythology of the inversion of roles in love has known many variants. This unusual couple having greatly inspired Mannerist painting in Italy, more particularly in Venice. The painters treated in a burlesque fashion the episode spiking reverse roles, depicting Hercules submissive and feminized, busy handling the distaff and the spindle next to Omphale full of bravery. Besides the distaff was since ancient times the symbol of an exclusively female work. A running man, holding a distaff, was seen as the height of humiliation.
Price : on request