Gérard de Lairesse (1641-1711)attributed -monogrammed GL and dated 1668-Le banquet de Cléiopatre.
Canvas 68 cm by 56 cm.
Frame 83 cm by 72 cm
The fame of Cleopatra, both in the ancient and modern tradition, is largely linked to the wealth displayed during her banquets. Certainly, Athenaeus attests that his practices were originally marked by sobriety and then transformed under the impetus of Roman habits; the fact remains that the sovereign has become the symbol of the display of wealth. Banquets organized by him were his favorite staging to display the luxury of his court, with the intention of fascinating his guests. The banquet ceremony plays a central role in Plutarch's reconstruction of the story of Antony and Cleopatra. After having ascended the Kydnos river, like a new Aphrodite, following her summons to Tarsus by Antony, Cleopatra bewitched the Roman chief with dinners organized with indescribable pomp. His host was struck by the play of light caused by the precious metals, thanks to a skillful technique of illumination in a staging with spectacular effects.
Gérard de Lairesse (1641-1711)
Gérard de Lairesse or Gérard Lairesse, baptized in Liège on September 11, 1641 and buried in Amsterdam on July 21 or 28, 1711, was a painter, decorator, draftsman, engraver and a theorist of the Dutch art (United Provinces) of Liège origin, from the end of the golden century. His work, inspired in part by Charles Lebrun, belongs to classicism. He was also nicknamed in France the Dutch Chick. He mainly represented allegorical, biblical and mythological scenes, and is also known for his decorations of ceilings or chimneys. Among his pupils, we can notably mention Jan van Mieris, Louis Fabricius Dubourg, Ottmar Elliger the Younger, Krzysztof Lubieniecki, Jan Hoogzaat and Zacharias Webber.
His Painting Lairesse's style is classic, much closer to vigorous French court painting than to Dutch tradition. In fact, he contributed to the penetration of French taste in the Netherlands. he produced mythological or historical scenes taken from classical authors, such as Ovid (Les Métamorphoses), Virgile (Les Bucoliques), Tacitus (Les Annales) or Titus Live, but also borrowed subjects from the Bible, as well from the Old than New Testament. He also made many allegories (among others, Arts, Virtue, Freedom of Commerce, Amsterdam, William III).
His style seems to derive from many Italian and French artists of the previous generation, such as Salvatore Rosa, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, Carlo Maratta and Nicolas Poussin, but it is even more akin to some of his contemporaries such as the French Charles Le Brun and the Italian Sebastiano Ricci. Among his most remarkable paintings, we can cite the Allegory of the Five Senses of 1668 (Glasgow), the Allegory of the Freedom of Commerce (Peace Palace, The Hague), Venus presenting her arms to Aeneas (Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp), and Selene and Endymion, produced around 1677 (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), which represents the goddess of the Moon visiting with Cupid her lover plunged into eternal sleep. In his works, symbolism occupies an important place. Lairesse in museums around the world. Lairesse's works are represented in several major museums around the world, such as the Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam), the Mauritshuis (The Hague), the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (Brussels), the Louvre (Paris), the Musée de l 'Hermitage (St. Petersburg) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York).