• Wedding of Cupid and Psyche (The Feast of Gods)

    Artist:
    Goltzius, Hendrick. 1558-1617
    Technique:
    engraving
    Dimensions:
    432х853 mm

Goltzius, Hendrick. 1558-1617

Wedding of Cupid and Psyche (The Feast of Gods)

Holland, 1592

One of the peaks of Netherlandish Mannerism was the refined, sophisticated art of Bartholomeus Spranger, a painter born in Antwerp who worked in Rome and then at the court of Rudolf II in Prague. As with other Mannerists, when he turned to Raphael’s legacy it was often in the nature of a competition with a classic figure. An illustration of this comes in the form of a huge drawing by Spranger that was engraved by Hendrick Goltzius in 1587 and became a manifesto of Netherlandish Mannerism – The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche. The microscopic depiction of the Olympian gods feasting that Spranger placed in the centre of the composition in the farthest part of the background is reminiscent of the fresco on the same subject that Raphael created at the Villa Farnesina. Around it, though, is a phantasmagorical, utterly anti-Raphaelesque conglomeration of dozens of personages that do, however, include individual quotations from Raphael: the seated woman half-turned with her back to us, Bacchus pouring wine, an allegorical figure of a river from the neighbouring fresco. Putti hovering amid the clouds, placed in spandrels in Raphael’s case, burst into the picture, adding even greater dynamism. The restrained, relief-like Raphaelesque composition seems to be exploded from within, presenting an apotheosis of virtuosity. It is far more effective and stunning than its classical prototype. Spranger’s style initially had a major influence on the artists of the Haarlem Academy – Hendrick Goltzius, Cornelis Corneliszoon and Karel van Mander. In the early 17th century, however, their stylistic preferences changed, and they began to treat the same Raphaelesque prototypes in a completely different manner – restrained, austere and classical. An example of this is provided by Cornelis Corneliszoon van Haarlem’s painting The Depravity of Mankind before the Flood, whose composition also goes back to the fresco The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche from the Villa Farnesina murals.

Title:

Wedding of Cupid and Psyche (The Feast of Gods)

Place:

Date:

Material:

Technique:

engraving

Dimensions:

432х853 mm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitgae in 1960; purchased from a private person

Inventory Number:

ОГ-393126

Category:

Collection:

Subcollection: