Mythology in the baroque period

This collection contains works that depict mythological scenes in the Baroque Period (1600-1700). The Baroque Period is known for it's dramatic and elaborate artworks that contain the themes of grandeur, psychological moments, death, martyrdom, euphoria, and intense contrast.

Sir Peter Lely was an established artist for portrait paintings, but in his career he created an art piece that is set in a mythological scene. Nymphs by a Fountain depicts a scene in a erotic tone of five naked nymphs sleeping by a fountain. This painting displays the formal element of contrast to exaggerate and produce a dramatic atmosphere between the interplay of lights and darks. The principle element of design is emphasis/focus due to the fact that the light source trains heavily down on the sleeping nymph to the bottom left who is blanketed in blue cloth.
Bacchus on a Throne was painted by Caesar Boetius van Everdingen. This oil on canvas painting depicts a scene of Bacchus sitting on a throne while being served a feast by three half naked nymphs. This painting displays the formal element of saturation because of its high levels of richness in the hues of reds, blues, beiges, greens, and skin tones creates a dramatic use of colors. The principle element of design is proportion because it makes the mythological scene seem physically real as if you have stepped inside a splendid feast with wine and flowers.
This oil on canvas painting is called Cupid as Victor and was created by Caravaggio around 1601. This painting depicts a smiling curly haired Cupid wearing dark wings and climbing down from what could be a table with an arrow in his right hand. This painting displays the formal element of contrast as you can seen from the dramatic interactions between the lights and shadows. The principle element of design is emphasis because we can see the light source shining down on his right hand clasped around the arrow and the scattered musical instruments, armor, and a manuscript which are all possibly being used to win someone's heart.
Mars with Cupid is an oil on canvas painting crated by Giovanni Francesco Barber in 1649. This painting depicts the scene of Cupid flying in the far left next to Mars who is looking off into the distance, presumably towards Venus. The formal element present in this painting is contrast and you can see this usage by the high levels of light sources that create an dramatic and elaborate atmosphere against the dark background and shadows. The principle element of design is saturation because of it’s high levels of purity in the shades of hues and creates the richness we see in the reds, blues, and grays.
Mars and Venus is an oil on canvas painting created in 1633 to 1634 by Nicolas Poussin. This mythological scene depicts the Roman goddess of love and beauty, Venus, sitting in a wooded area with her maidens and Mars, god of war, stares at her intensely while Cupid is flying around his left shoulder. The formal element presented in this painting is the usage of contrast due to the fact the light source highlights the handmaidens, Venus, Mars armor, and Cupid against the dark landscape. The principle element of design is the saturation used to create the richness in the hues of red, blue, and skin tones.
Hercules Feeding Diomedes to his Horses was created in 1680 to 1690 on a oil by canvas medium by Luca Giordano. The painting depicts the mythological scene of Hercules defeating Diomedes, king of Bisons, and feeding his body to the horses. The painting contains the formal element of contrast to highlight the important focus of the painting such as Hercules crouched in the left corner and Diomedes body to the center right being feasted on by the horses. The principle element of design is emphasis because of the usage of lighting helps the viewer focus on the horses, Diomedes lifeless body, and Hercules.
The Nurture of Jupiter is an oil on canvas painting created in the Mid- 1630s by Nicolas Poussin. This painting depicts the scene of a young Jupiter being raised by nymphs and suckling on a goat as his mother hid him on Mount Ida to protect him from his father, Saturn, who has eating his kids after learning that he would be dethroned by one of his sons. The formal element displayed in this painting is contrast as we can see that the dark background gives a dramatic flair on the nymphs who care for Jupiter. The principle element of design is the emphasis or focus the painting uses to highlight the nymphs and Jupiter to ensure the viewer gets the main story of how Jupiter was raised and cared for.
The Musical Contest between Apollo and Marsyas is an oil on panel type painting created by Cornelis van Poelenburgh. The image depicted is a scene in which the satyr Marsyas angered Apollo, God of music, by challenging him and then outshining Apollo with his flute playing. This paintings formal element is the usage of contrast that is used to add emphasis to the people, Gods, and satyr who gathered for this contest against the dark background and shadows. The principle element of design is the attention to proportions that Cornelis used. We can see that from the far right that Apollo and Marsyas appear smaller and gives the viewer the sense that they are a bit farther away then the people to the left.
Apollo and Marsyas was created on an oil on canvas medium by Filippo Lauri. The painting depicts a scene of Apollo going to slay the satyr Marsyas, who challenged him in a musical contest and outshined him in his talents. The painting displays the formal elements of contrast because of the way the light heavily hits Apollo and Marsyas against the dark background. The principle element of design is the focus used from the lighting to help draw the viewer into the very center where the action is happening.
The Abduction of Ganymede was created in 1635 by Rembrandt. This painting depicts the scene of Ganymede being lifted away by an eagle, which is the form Jupiter had taken after he had fallen in love with the boy like most of the gods. The painting displays the formal element of contrast because of the way the lighting adds a dramatic shift because of the dark background and eagle. The principle of design is focus because of the way the contrast is used to draw the viewer into the main topic of the painting, which is Ganymede being whisked away by a dark eagle, Jupiter.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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