01 May 2009

Juno in the Underworld 1

In Ovid's next story, Juno gets angry with Ino, Semele's sister, and decides to punish her. This involves a trip down to the underworld, where she comes across some people being punished for their crimes on Earth. In this post we'll be looking at the punishments suffered by four of these people:Tityus, Tantalus, Sisyphus, and Ixion. (all of the images below are in the public domain and taken from wikicommons)

Both Titian and de Ribera painted sets of four paintings, one for each of the four. The two paintings by Titian above show Tityus (top) and Sisyphus (bottom). Dating from 1548-1549, they are now in Madrid's Prado ( here and here). The other two paintings in the set, Tantalus and Ixion, were unfortunately lost in a fire in 1734. Two of de Ribera's 1632 paintings are also in the Prado: Tityus and Ixion (below).

Michelangelo's 1532 drawing of Tityus is in the Royal Collection, and was used by Bernardi as the design for the intaglio shown below, which was cut around 1530 and is now in London's British Museum.

A drawing of Tantalus by Hans Holbein the Younger dating from between 1535 and 1540 can be seen in Washington's National Gallery of Art. Assereto's picture of Tantalus is from the first half of the 17th century and is now in Graz's Landesmuseum Joanneum (scroll down). Eric Henry has an animated version of Tantalus's torments called Sometimes I Feel Like This on his Moving Pictures site.

The picture of Sisyphus below was painted in 1920 by Franz von Stuck and is now in a private collection. The contemporary artist Michael Egbert took the theme of Sisyphus Sleeping for a 1993 painting.

To finish off this post with, here is Jankovics Marcell's short animated film called Sisyphus, which was nominated for a 1976 Oscar.

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