XIII. Baroque


Annibale Carracci, Choice of Hercules

AD 1596

Ceiling fresco, Casino Rospigliosi, Rome.

Aurora, her hands holding garlands of flowers, flies in front of the horses of sun, driven by Apollo. A cupid with a torch (the morning star?) flies above the horses. Seven women accompany Apollo. They may be the hours, or the four clasping hands in front may be the seasons. Light emanating from Apollo fills much of the sky. The clouds come to an end around Aurora, allowing a small glimpse of the world below.

XIII-2 Guido Reni, Aurora

AD 1614

XIII-3 Caravaggio, Sick Bacchus

AD 1593

Galleria Borghese

Self-portrait of Caravaggio as a young, sickly Bacchus.

XIII-4 Caravaggio, Bacchus

AD 1596

Galleria delgi Uffizi, Florence.

Oil on canvas.

A young man draped in a sheet and heavily garlanded with grapes and grape leaves sits holding a glass wine goblet. A table in front of him holds fruit, some overripe.

XIII-5 Bernini, Pluto and Proserpina

AD 1621-1622

Galleria Borghese, Rome

A bearded man lifts a young woman. she pushes vigorously at his head, and he digs in fingers deep into her flesh. At their feet is a three-headed dog.

XIII-6 Bernini, Apollo and Daphne

AD 1622-1625

Galleria Borghese, Rome

A beardless man reaches for a woman running in front of him: With one hand he grasps her torso, which is turning into bark. Her feet are putting down roots, and her hair and hand turning into leaves.

XIII-7 Velasquez, The Drinkers

(now also called the Triumph of Dionysus)

1626? before 1629. Prado Museum, Madrid.

Oil on canvas. One meter sixty-five by one meter eighty eight.

Probably painted for the King of Spain.

In the front of the picture, five simply dressed women work spinning wool, while a cat plays on the floor between them. In the center the back wall opens up into an alcove, filled with light. Two finely dressed women at the right of the room have their backs to the spinners, but one turns to look at them over her shoulder. Tapestries hang on the walls of the alcove. On one tapestry we can make out two cupids flying through the sky, a white bull, and the head and arm of a woman. In front of that tapestry a woman stands, gesturing toward a helmeted figure who raises a hand commandingly. At the left edge of the opening another woman stands by a large musical instrument.

XIII-8 Velasquez, The Spinners

Also called the Fable of Arachne

AD 1655-1660. Museo del Prado, Madrid.

Oil on canvas. One meter sixty seven by two meters fifty-two.

Detail of background scene with competition between Arachne and Minerva.

XIII-9 Rubens, Garden of Love

AD 1630-1635. Museo del Prado, Madrid.

Oil on canvas.

The setting consists of a paved space with a railing at the back and steps descending on the right. Behind the this terrace a landscape opens up at the left, while a complex vista of fantastic architecture fills the center. At the right, the view back is blocked by n elaborate fountain of a nymph seated on a dolphin.

Eleven figures in contemporary dress occupy the paved terrace: three couples, a group of four women, and a male musician behind them. One couple descends the steps at the right, the second couple advances from the left (the woman hanging back), and a third couple sit beside them. Cupids intervene to push the reluctant woman, and whisper to two others. Cupids in the air in the air shoot arrows, wave a torch, or simply gaze benevolently on these figures. Additional figures, also in contemporary dress, move away into the mistiness created by the fantastic architecture, in the depths of which we see what appears to be another statuary group, a nude standing couple.

XIII-10 Rubens, Arrival of Marie de Medici

AD 1622-1625. The Louvre.

Marie, dressed in white and accompanied by her ladies in waiting, steps on to a silk-covered gangplank. A messenger falls to his knees before her. In front, sea deities cavort joyfully in the water and a figure flying through the air blows a double horn.

XIII-11 Rubens, Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus

AD 1618. Alte Pinakothek, Munich.

One man on horseback and one who has dismounted (the twins Castor and Pollux) seize two nude, ineffectually protesting women.

XIII-12a Rubens, Judgment of Paris

Version 1

ca. AD 1600

Paris, seen from the back, is handing the apple to Venus, watched by the other two goddesses and a number of other deities.

XIII-12b Rubens, Judgment of Paris

Version 2

ca. AD 1635

Paris and Mercury at left. Paris with his shepherd's crook and dog, two sheep grazing behind him, sits by a tree and holds out an apple. Mercury, identified by his winged hat, stands behind the tree. They look at three nude women. In front is Juno, holding a red (royal purple) mantle, a peacock beside her. Venus stands in the center, and at the rear Minerva removes the last of her clothes. Her armor, including a shield with a gorgon's head, lies behind her. In the corner a small cupid is playing. Storm clouds gather in the sky where a female figure gestures threateningly.

XIII-12c Rubens, Judgment of Paris

Version 3

ca. AD 1638

Mercury holds up the apple. Paris gazes at all the goddesses.

XIII-13 Rubens, Drunken Silenus

AD 1618-1625. Alte Pinakothek, Munich.

XIII-14 Rembrandt, Danae

AD 1635. State Hermitage Museum

XIII-15 Rembrandt, Ganymede

AD 1635. Private collection.

XIII-16 Rembrandt, Philemon and Baucis

AD 1658. National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

XIII-17 Pousin, Et in Arcadia Ego

AD 1639. The Louvre.

Also called Les bergers d'Arcadie (The Shepherds of Arcadia)

XIII-18 Pousin, Triumph of Pan

AD 1636. National Gallery, London.

XIII-19 Apollo among the Nymphs

AD 1665-1675

Sculpture group by François Girardon.

In the Grotto of Thetis at Versailles.

XIII-20 The Triumph of Apollo

AD 1668-1671

Sculpture group by Jean-Baptiste Tuby.

Fountain in the park at Versailles. Apollo drives a four horse chariot that emerges from the water. Seamen (tritons) blow horns to announce his coming.

Persons and Events:

  • Apollo

  • Danae

  • Ganymede

  • Cerberus

  • Daphne

  • Jupiter

  • Pan

  • Arcadia

  • Loves of Jupiter

  • Transformation

  • Triumph

  • Arachne

  • Bacchus

  • Cupid

  • Juno

  • Mercury

  • Paris

  • Satyr

  • Silenus

  • Venus

  • Judgment

  • Love

  • Rape

  • Aurora

  • Hades

  • Hercules

  • Horses of the Dawn

  • Persephone

  • Proserpina

Objects and Places:

  • Painting on house walls

  • Painting to hang in houses

  • Painting for sale

  • Gardens

  • Versailles

  • Private space

  • Political message

  • Paintings for private patrons

Texts and Authors:

  • Catullus

  • Ovid