15 December 2009

Verginia and Appius Claudius

Appius Claudius, one of the decemvirs assigned the task of codifying Roman law in the 5th century BC, declared a freeborn young Roman woman called Verginia to be legally a slave of one of his clients in order to be able to rape her with impunity. Seeing no other way of keeping her out of Appius Claudius's clutches her father stabbed her to death. You can read Livy's version of the story here on Perseus (click the right pointing arrow to continue) and Dionysius of Halicarnassus's version here on LacusCurtius.

In the 1470s Filippino Lippi painted a picture of the story of Verginia, which is now in Paris's Louvre, while in 1498 Botticelli painted the above picture which is now in Bergamo's Accademia Carrara. (public domain image from wikicommons)

Francesco de Mura painted his "Death of Verginia" around 1760. It is now in the Manchester Art Gallery. Henry Tresham also painted a Death of Verginia in 1797, which is now in London's Royal Academy of Arts.

05 December 2009

Perseus and Medusa: the 19th century and after

Last time we looked at Perseus and Medusa in the 16th and 17th centuries. I haven't found anything in the 18th century, so moving on to the 19th century, the 1806 statue on the left is by Canova and now in New York's Metropolitan Museum. An earlier version of this statue is in the Vatican Museum, but not on their website. (image used by permission of metmuseum.org)

George Watts sculpted a head of Medusa while visiting Florence in the 1840s. It is now in Compton's Watts Gallery (there doesn't seem to be any way of linking directly to the page, so you'll have to search for Medusa). (public domain image from museumsyndicate.com)

Arnold Bocklin painted this picture of Medusa in 1878 or thereabouts. It is now in a private collection.

Maximilian Pirner painted the top painting of Medusa in 1891, while Carlos Schwabe painted his Medusa in 1895 I have not been able to find either's present location, so I assume they are both in private collections.

Jacek Malczewski painted this Medusa in 1900. It is now in the Lviv Art Gallery, which does not seem to have a website.

Vincenzo Gemito produced a relief head of Medusa in 1911, which is now in Los Angeles's Getty Center.

To finish off with here is a rather nice cartoon version of the story of Perseus and Medusa produced by ABC and the University of Melbourne. (all images are in the public domain and come from wikicommons unless otherwise credited)