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The story of Niobe is related in Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Canto 6, 146-312):

Niobe was the daughter of the proud King Tantalus of Phrygia. She married Amphion, the king of Thebes, and bore him seven sons and seven daughters. She bragged of her many children and chided the goddess Latona, mother of the twins Apollo and Diana, for having only two. In vengeance, Apollo and Diana carried out a massacre. They are shown in the clouds showering arrows down onto Niobe’s children.

Style of painting and the drama of the tale

Abraham Bloemaert’s style of painting suits the drama of the tale, full of contrasting shifts between colours, light, and shade as well as complicated poses with bodies viewed from extreme angles.

The great role model: Cornelis Cornelisz van Haarlem

Only 24 years old at the time, the painting sees Bloemaert closely approximating his great role model Cornelis Cornelisz van Haarlem (1562-1638), who in the 1580s joined his friends Karel van Mander (1548-1606) and Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617) to make his native town of Haarlem the centre of the special Haarlem Mannerist style.

In his famous Schilder Boeck from 1604 Karel van Mander relates how the painting was originally intended for Rudolph 2. (1552-1612) in Prague, a patron of many Mannerist artists.

Details

  • Title: Apollo and Diana Punishing Niobe by Killing her Children
  • Creator: Abraham Bloemaert
  • Date Created: 1591
  • Værktekst: Historien om Niobe fortælles i Ovids antikke digt Metamorfoser (6. sang, 146-312): Niobe, som var datter af Frygiens stolte kong Tantalus, giftede sig med Amfion, kongen af Theben, og fødte ham syv sønner og syv døtre. Hun pralede af sine mange børn og hånede gudinden Latona, mor til tvillingerne Apollon og Diana, for kun at have de to. Apollon og Diana gennemførte derpå en massakre som hævn. De ses i færd med at angribe Niobes børn med bue og pil fra skyerne. Malemanér og historiens drama Abraham Bloemaerts malemanér passer til historiens drama. Kontrastfulde skift mellem farver, lys og mørke, samt komplicerede stillinger, hvor kroppene er set i ekstreme vinkler. Forbilledet Cornelis Cornelisz van Haarlem Den kun 24-årige Bloemaert lægger sig op ad det store forbillede Cornelis Cornelisz van Haarlem (1562-1638), som i 1580’erne sammen med vennerne Karel van Mander (1548-1606) og Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617) havde gjort sin fødeby Haarlem til centrum for den særlige Haarlem-manierisme. Karel van Mander fortæller i sin berømte Schilder Boeck fra 1604, at maleriet oprindeligt var tiltænkt Rudolf 2. (1552-1612) i Prag, mæcen for mange manieristiske kunstnere.
  • Teknik: Olie på lærred
  • Proveniens: Erhvervet før 1689
  • Provenance: Acquired before 1689
  • Physical Dimensions: w249.5 x h203 cm (Without frame)
  • Dansk link: http://www.smk.dk/index.php?id=2697
  • Dansk Titel: Apollon og Diana straffer Niobe ved at dræbe hendes børn
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Statens Museum for Kunst, http://www.smk.dk/en/copyright/creative-commons/
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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