Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Joyful Misery

A reminder to members of City Daily Photo: the theme day for May is Let's Eat. And have a peek at my writer's blog for today's post, as it's something of a preview for a series I'll have here in early May.

Today I'm starting with one of the passages within the world art section of the National Gallery.

Pan & Syrinx is an oil painting by the French artist Jean-Francois de Troy, dating to 1833. It draws on the Greek mythological tale of the nature god Pan and the nymph Syrinx, who rejected his advances and found safety with her river god father, who transformed her into marsh reeds to protect her from Pan. 

Greek mythology (with a Roman name) also forms the subject for this 1717 oil painting, Venus Presenting Arms To Aeneas. Jean Restout the Younger takes a passage from Virgil's Aeneid in which the goddess of love gives arms to her mortal Trojan son Aeneas.

Vulcan At His Forge is a 1750 oil painting by the Italian artist Pompeo Batoni depicting the blacksmith god of Olympus (Hephaestus in the original Greek) and husband of the goddess of love. In Virgil's tale, Venus receives the arms for Aeneas from Vulcan.

The above painting is just behind the sculpture in this shot. I always seem to get a shot of Antonio Canova's marble Dancer when I'm here.

I photographed these three paintings in the room beyond. I've featured each before. On the left is Countess Tolstoya, a 1796 oil painting by the French portrait artist Elizabeth Louise Vigee LeBrun. This is a recent acquisition for the Gallery, a legacy of the major retrospective that was held here on Vigee LeBrun in 2016. In the middle is Bacchus And Ariadne, an oil painting done circa 1821 by the French artist Antoine-Jean Gros, and which depicts part of the myth of the mortal hero Theseus, who has left his intended bride Ariadne behind on Naxos after being warned that the god of wine has chosen her for his bride. The Olympian is comforting his future bride. On the right is the portrait Madame Erneste Bioche de Misery (hence my title for this post)

This is the work of Anne-Louis Girodet, a French artist, who painted this work in 1807. Madame de Misery (what a name) was the wife of the mayor of Saint Lye, and for this portrait is dressed in Empire style. This particular painting you might remember- it was on display in a companion exhibit, The White Dress, for the Vigee LeBrun retrospective. 

This large oil painting is one I've shown you before, but I decided to frame it at a distance through the doorway. French artist Charles Meynier painted Wisdom Defending Youth From The Arrows Of Love in 1810. It is an allegorical painting with mythological influences that resonated with the idea of Napoleonic duty to country.


  1. I love seeing both the artwork and how it is displayed. This has been a wonderful tour!

  2. A wonderful museum with its coloured walls. It reminds me of the Groninger Museum.

  3. Just imagine the museum's framing department!

  4. Love the way the last photo is framed. The painting's frame & your composition, too.


  5. @Halcyon: thanks! More to come.

    @Francisco: thank you.

    @Marleen: I would enjoy seeing that museum.

    @Revrunner: some of the frames are works of art!

    @Janis: thank you.

  6. Another fine selection William.. the 'Dancer' sculpture is beautiful and I love the framing in the last shot!

  7. Madame de Misery looks like she is in--just that.
    Excellent photos--pictures of pictures

  8. Interesting how some artists use a story for their inspiration.

  9. This looks like a really beautiful gallery. I like those big arched ceilings.

  10. I love how you framed the painting through doorway :-)

  11. A wonderful museum with beautiful paintings. I also liked the way you framed the last photo. Very nice tour William!

  12. Very nice artwork and coloured walls, and I love the hardwood floors!

  13. the black haired lady reminds me of Dolly Madison. the last shot is so cool how you got the model (LOL!) to stand in for your shot. ( ;

  14. @Grace: thanks!

    @MB: I think she looks rather confident. Somewhere in the back of my mind is the idea of a character named Misery- a female assassin who goes through life pissed off because her parents named her Misery.

    @Red: it is, yes.

    @Sharon: I love spending time here.

    @Tamago: it was fun to keep my eye out for such opportunities this time out.

    @Bill: it's a wonderful gallery to come and see on a regular basis.

    @Linda: I do too.

    @Beth: I can see that. Lucky timing with the last shot, but it reinforces how big that painting is.

    @RedPat: a pleasure to do so.

  15. I appreciate your choices ... lovely.

    All the best Jan

  16. A very nice gallery! I love the paintings and some of those frames are works of art themselves.

  17. Beautiful paintings from your gallery tour. Have a beautiful day!

  18. These are wonderful paintings, but I like grey colour of the walls (photos #1 and #5) very much.

  19. A lovely setting for this classical art.

  20. @Jan: thanks!

    @Mari: thank you.

    @Lois: that's true.

    @Nancy: thank you.

    @Klara: thanks!

    @Kay: it is.

    @Whisk: indeed.

    @Norma: yes it is.

    @Jennifer: thanks!