10 August 2009

Perseus and Andromeda: The 18th century

We continue our exploration of the theme of Perseus and Andromeda, moving into the 18th century with a picture painted in 1723 by François Lemoyne and now in London's The Wallace Collection. A few years later in 1727 Charles-Antoine Coypel also painted Perseus Rescuing Andromeda, which is now in Paris's Louvre. It is not on the Louvre's website, but can be seen in the Joconde database of artworks belonging to the French government. (wikicommons starmap by Roberto Mura used under creative commons licence)

In 1726, Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni returned to Venice from political exile. In honour of the occasion a serenata called Andromeda Liberata was commissioned and performed only to languish thereafter till it was rediscovered in 2002. It is a matter of some musicological dispute whether the serenata was composed by one musician or several, but it is certain that one of the arias, Sovvente il sole, was written by Antonio Vivaldi. The above YouTube extract has the finale from a 2006 performance in Cremona. The New York Times has a background piece to the manuscript's discovery.

In 1730, Tiepolo painted a picture now in New York's Frick Collection, as a study for a ceiling fresco now lost due to WWII bombing.

Anton Raphael Mengs produced the above picture in 1774-1777. It is now in St. Petersburg's State Hermitage. (public domain picture from wikicommons)

Lastly, in 1787 Michael Haydn (brother of the more famous Joseph) wrote an opera, "Andromeda und Perseus", an aria from which can be heard in the YouTube video embedded above.


Gary Corby said...

I'd never heard of the Joconde database. Thanks for letting me know.

Now I'm going to spend a few hours playing with it...

RWMG said...

I find it very frustrating to use. My searches generally end up blank or with several thousand possible hits to wade through.

Gary Corby said...

I fear you're right. Ask for van Gogh and you get all the inspired by as well, and it's hard to filter.