ELSHEIMER ADAM (School of) Frankfurt - sur... - Lot 30 - Rossini

Lot 30
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ELSHEIMER ADAM (School of) Frankfurt - sur... - Lot 30 - Rossini
Frankfurt - sur - Le Main 1578 - Rome 1610
Jupiter Orders Mercury to take away the god Pleasure from humans
or the "Contento"
Oil on copper (Restorations)
H.: 33 cm - W.: 42 cm

Repeat, with several variants, of Adam Elsheimer's composition (circa 1607) from the National Gallery of Scotland (Edinburgh) known as "Il Contento", painted on copper and of similar dimensions (30.1 x 42 cm).

The subject is inspired by a fable imitating ancient literature in the picaresque novel by Mateo Alemà (1547 - 1614) Vita y hechos del picaro Guzman de Alfarache, (Madrid 1599) translated into Italian in 1606, the time of Adam Elsheimer's stay in Rome. Jupiter, angered by the ingratitude of men towards him, who preferred celebrations and pleasures to him, ordered Mercury to rob them of the god of Pleasure, or Contentment, which he undertook to do despite their vigorous opposition (Book I, Chapter VII).

The Louvre Museum holds two pen and brown wash drawings by Adam Elsheimer relating to the completed composition. However, it is with a third drawing from the P. Mariette collection, also belonging to the Edinburgh Museum, and considered to be an intermediate state before the final composition, that our painting curiously shows the greatest affinity, particularly with regard to the invention of the characters, their groupings and attitudes (Cf. Keith Andrews, Adam Elsheimer; cat. 19, fig. 71; cat. 43, 44 & 45, fig. 68, 69 & 70 - Phaidon 1977).

The similar elements between the composition reproduced above and the Edinburgh Museum drawing: the figure of Jupiter and its eagle in the sky, the two young servants with blond and laurelled hair on the left, the naked young woman three - quarter on the right and the one seen in profile advancing in front of her, are no longer found in the final version.

Document : The photocopy of a letter dated 28 April 1984 (Rome) from Mr
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