In design and workmanship, this bedroom, consisting of an antechamber with a bed alcove, is one of the finest of its period. The decoration is in stucco and carved wood. In the antechamber, fluted Corinthian pilasters support an entablature out of which fly amorini bearing garlands of flowers. Other amorini bear the gilded frame of a painting by Gasparo Diziani, depicting dawn triumphant over night. Above the entry to the alcove seven amorini frolic, holding a shield with the monogram of Zaccaria Sagredo. A paneled wood dado with a red-and-white marble base runs around the room. The unornamented portions of the walls are covered with seventeenth-century brocatelle. The bed alcove has its original marquetry floor. The stuccowork was probably done by Abondio Statio and Carpoforo Mazetti. The amorini are beautifully modeled and the arabesques of the doors are exquisitely executed. Everything in this bedroom forms a buoyant and joyful ensemble. (MET)
Museum Dogs is continuing this week’s theme of Diana and Endymion (see the posts http://tinyurl.com/m7xl3d8 and http://tinyurl.com/nh8djo2) with some drawings and a woodcut of the myth from the 16th through18th centuries. Each artist brings a different style to the scene and a different interpretation of the most important figures in the story: the dogs!
Frans Floris (also known as Frans de Vriendt—the family name was Floris, but Frans’s dad took the surname de Vreindt—“Friend”—and Frans did not), is best known for his large paintings of history and religious subjects in a style that assimilated that of the Italian High Renaissance into the prevailing Flemish manner of painting.
Floris’s drawing of Diana and Endymion is a more naturalistic take on the subject, emphasizing the human aspects of the goddess rather than her lunar association. Indeed, there is no moon at all in the drawing. The mostly-naked Diana leans over the sleeping and mostly-naked Endymion, enjoying the view of his face and figure. One of Diana’s nymph companions, or maybe the goddess Venus, looks on with prurient curiosity.
Endymion’s dog also witnesses the scene, but with more equanimity than the humanoid observer. The large spaniel-like dog is unconcerned, maybe even pleased with what is happening to his person. DUM DE DUM IT’S A LOVELY NIGHT OH HI LADY YES MY PERSON IS NICE ISN’T HE. I LIKE HIM A LOT. YOU SEEM TO LIKE HIM A LOT TOO. A FRIEND OF MY PERSON IS A FRIEND OF MINE!
Gaspare Diziani was not only a painter, he designed stage scenery, worked as an art restorer, and was one of the most prolific draftsmen in Venice in the 18th century. He worked mostly in oil and fresco, and he made drawings in a variety of media. At the end of his long and distinguished career, he died suddenly in a coffee shop in the Piazza San Marco. What a way to go!
Diziani’s interpretation of the scene plays up Diana’s lunar personification, showing her sitting in the crescent moon and looking down on the sleeping Endymion. Even though he is a shepherd in the story, there are no sheep in the image. Instead, Endymion has only a bow and arrows at hand—maybe Diana’s, or perhaps they a reference to the love-inducing equipment of Cupid, who often appears in depictions of the myth.
The two greyhounds accompanying Endymion monitor closely Diana descending above them. They do not seem to be too dismayed by the goddess’s presence, but they are keeping a wary eye, just in case they need to spring to their person’s defense or try to nudge in and get her to pay attention to them instead. HEY STEVE WHAT’S THAT LADY DOING? HMM I DON’T KNOW, AGNES. DO YOU THINK SHE HAS TREATS? SHE MIGHT HAVE TREATS. TREATS ARE THE BEST.
Nicolas Le Sueur was a draftsman and printmaker the most famous member of a family of artists. His most notable works are his chiaroscuro woodcuts, using multiple blocks to create deep tonal contrasts in the finished print. He made vignettes and book illustrations, and he contributed 30 prints to the Recueil Crozat, a two-volume set of engravings made after the paintings and drawings belonging to the wealthy art collector Pierre Crozat.
Le Sueur’s woodcut of Diana and Endymion is one of the illustrations in the Recueil Crozat, and it reproduces a painting by the Italian Rococo artist Sebastiano Conca. (And, according to the inscription on the bottom of the plate, the creation of the print was supervised or contributed to in some way by the female painter Françoise Basseporte.) The scene shows Endymion sleeping in an awkward position against a rock, with Diana, haloed with the moon, sitting above him and cradling his head in her lap. A pair of mischievous putti (cupids) hover in a tree overhead.
Endymion’s dogs are of two minds about the proceedings—the one is content to snooze away and act as a footstool for his master (I AM ENJOYING MY SLEEP AND BEING USEFUL TO MY PERSON AT THE SAME TIME), and the other looks up at Diana with some consternation. I AM NOW AWAKE WHAT IS GOING ON HERE IS MY PERSON IN DANGER? Or maybe he is looking at the putti. ARE THOSE BIRDS UP THERE CAN I CHASE THEM? THAT MIGHT BE WORTH GETTING WOKEN UP FOR.
Charles-Antoine Coypel was a French painter, engraver, and tapestry designer. He had early success as a painter, and he eventually became the premier peintre du roi—First Painter to the king of France. Coypel also had some success in a literary career, producing a number of commentaries on art, poems, and plays.
Coypel’s Diana and Endymion focuses on the lovers alone, and, like Floris’s interpretation, Diana’s human attributes are emphasized over her divine ones. With a tender expression, she carefully wraps Endymion’s cloak around him. Indeed, he does seem rather underdressed for a night in the woods. Sketched in the background is Cupid, who harasses Endymion’s dog.
Our canine hero, who had probably been sleeping peacefully before the divine visitors, is surprised and none too pleased at Cupid’s annoying advances. The poor dog’s expression says it all: HUHWHAT?! WHO AND WHAT ARE YOU, FLYING BABY PERSON? WHAT ARE YOU DOING LEAVE ME ALONE DON’T MAKE ME BITE YOU. Much sympathy to this dog!
Johann Heinrich Keller was Swiss painter and draftsman who worked in the northern Netherlands. He is known for his wall decorations, including those for a mansion in the Hague that is now the Escher Museum.
However sparse his biography, Keller’s drawing of Diana and Endymion is really charming and a little naughty. In a wooded area, surrounded by comically-rendered sheep and goats, and haloed by the rising moon, Diana caresses Endymion, who drowses against a rock with his muscular back to the viewer. Cupid hides behind a nearby tree and giggles over the scene. Sticking out of the tree in which he hides is something that looks very much like a large penis. Oh my! It is not apparent where, exactly, this member comes from, though maybe Cupid has something to do with it.
Endymion’s dog, who must have been snuffling around in the woods runs into the scene with a defensive posture and a bark of righteous anger. No one, not even a goddess, is allowed to mess with his person! WHAT IS HAPPENING LEAVE MY PERSON ALONE THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE I AM A DOG AND I AM EXTREMEMLY OFFENDED BY THIS SITUATION ROWF ROWF ROWF ROWF!!!
Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli (designer). The Picture Hall of the Catherine Palace; with carved doors flanked by gilded caryatids, and in the centre of the dessus-de-portes, a depiction of Minerva, the goddess of wisdom and patroness of trades and science, reclining on a mirror brought by Cupid; and a ceiling painting of Mount Olympus, a post-war copy of the work above the Jordan Staircase in the Winter Palace that was painted by Gaspare Diziani. 1752-1756. Picture collection consists of 112 paintings.
Paintings include: Pierre Denis Martin. The Battle of Poltava and The Battle of Lesnaya. 1717; Jean-Marc Nattier. An Allegory of Sculpture and An Allegory of Music. ca 1715; Simon de Vos. The Magnanimity of Scipio Africanus. ca. 1641; Jan van Huysum. Flowers in a Vase. 17th century; Jacques Blanchard. Jupiter and Danaë. ca. 1829; as well as: architectural compositions by Emanual de Witte, genre paintings by Adrian van Ostade and David Teniers, landscapes by Jan Both, still lifes by David de Gem and Jan Feyt, battle scenes by Jacques Curtois (Burginogne), mythological and biblical scenes by Jacques Blanchard, Luke Gorgiano and others.
Paintings: oil on canvas. Door carvings: gilt-wood.
The Catherine Palace. Tsarskoye Selo, Pushkin, Russia.