Michelangelo Maestri (died 1812) after the engravings of Tommaso Piroli (1752-1824).
Gouache on paper.
Beginning of the 19th century.
These allegories are taken from the collection of engravings named Antiquities of Herculaneum made by Tommaso Piroli and published by the Piranesi brothers, between 1804 and 1806. The work was intended to illustrate and introduce the wall paintings discovered in Herculaneum during the second half of the eighteenth century. The explanations given by Chaude complement the engravings by giving indications on the color that Maestri followed to the letter.
The first one represents a scene from Eschyle' Oresteia. In the hope of appeasing the vengeful goddesses who pursued Orestes, Apollo ordered him to go to Tauride and bring back to Athens a statue of Athena. Once arrived in Tauride with his friend Pylade, the two men were captured and led to be sacrificed to the goddess. Fortunately, Orestes' sister, Iphigenia, was none other than the priestess in charge of the sacrifice, she recognized them and allows them to escape. Here, it is the scene of the recognition of Iphigenia, represented on the right, who freezes when she sees her brother.
The second scene represents Bacchus in the center, carrying a thyrse, who is receiving offerings given by bacchantes on the left, with his favorite young Ampelus and a hierophant or nurse behind him on the right.
The ornamental friezes added at the bottom of each representation are inspired by the same work, but rather than scrupulously respecting the layout of the original frescoes, Maestri assembled the motifs according to his personal fantasy.