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Thursday, April 12, 2012

John Vanderlyn and His Sleeping Ariadne

John Vanderlyn, Ariadne Asleep on the Island of Naxos, 1812
oil on canvas
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia
no copyright infringement intended

John Vanderlyn spent some formative years in the Philadelphia studio of Gilbert Stuart. Later he was sent to Paris - and he was the first American painter to study in France rather than in England. He returned to the United States, then went again to France and stayed there some seven years, then he came back to his country, and was commissioned to execute portraits of important American personages (beginning with Washington) - also commissioned for some other subjects considered of national importance (like the Landing of Columbus, for the U.S. Capital rotunda). All this happened in the last years of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th.

His Sleeping Ariadne was painted while he was in France. Now it stays in Philadelphia. I haven't seen it, though I was several times in Philly. I came to its web image just today, as I was trying to draw some parallels to the homonym opera of Richard Strauss.

Coming back to his master, Gilbert Stuart, I love one of his paintings: The Skater - it is at the Washington National Gallery of Art.

(Old Masters)



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