19 Works, September 11th. is Gerard de Lairesse’s day, his story, illustrated with footnotes #201

Gerard de Lairesse (1640–1711)
Hercules between Vice and Virtue, c. 1685

Oil on canvas
Height: 112 cm (44 in); Width: 181 cm (71.2 in)
Louvre Museum

The theme comes from the famous apologue of Prodicas, transmitted by Xenophon, often represented by painters (Raphael, Carrache, Rubens, etc., cf. Panofsky). Vice is embodied by the provocative Voluptuousness, accompanied by an old woman in the role of matchmaker. The attribute of chaste Virtue is a horse bit, a symbol of restraint and moderation. Behind Hercules, already on the path to good, a Fame and, in the background, the temple of glory which rewards good deeds. More on this painting

Hercules at the crossroads, also known as the Choice of Hercules and the Judgement of Hercules, is an ancient Greek parable attributed to Prodicus and known from Xenophon. It concerns the young Heracles/Hercules who is offered a choice between Vice and Virtue — a life of pleasure or one of hardship and honour. In the early modern period it became a popular motif in Western art. More on Hercules at the crossroads

Gerard or Gérard (de) Lairesse (11 September 1641 — June 1711) was a Dutch Golden Age painter and art theorist. His broad range of skills included music, poetry, and theatre. His importance grew in the period following the death of Rembrandt. His treatises on painting and drawing, Grondlegginge Ter Teekenkonst (1701),based on geometry and Groot Schilderboek (1707), were highly influential on 18th-century painters…

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05 Contemporary Interpretations, Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion, with footnotes #3

Odilon Redon, (French, Bordeaux 1840–1916 Paris)

The Chariot of Apollo, c. 1905–16

Oil on canvas

26 x 32 in. (66 x 81.3 cm)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

About 1900 Redon abandoned his trademark black charcoal drawings and began avidly experimenting with color. He also explored new subjects, including the mythological horses of the sun, driven by Apollo, god of light and poetry; or by Phaethon, the boy who foolishly tried to steer the horses and fell to his death. Redon made over thirty depictions of the motif in oil, pastel, and pencil. In this version he omitted any indication of a ground plane, so that the horses and charioteer appear to race across a boundless sky. More on this painting

Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion, and Greek and Roman mythology. Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of music, truth and prophecy, healing, the sun and light, plague, poetry, and more. Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis.

As the patron of Delphi (Pythian Apollo), Apollo was an oracular god—the prophetic deity of the Delphic Oracle. Medicine and healing are associated with Apollo, whether through the god himself or mediated through his son Asclepius, yet Apollo was also seen as a god who could bring ill-health and deadly plague. Amongst the god’s custodial charges, Apollo became associated with dominion over colonists, and as the patron defender of herds and flocks. As the leader of the Muses (Apollon Musegetes) and director of their choir, Apollo functioned as the patron god of music and poetry.

In Hellenistic times, especially during the 3rd century BCE, as Apollo Helios he became identified among Greeks with Helios, Titan god of the sun, and his sister Artemis similarly equated with Selene, Titan goddess of the moon. More on Apollo


Bertrand-Jean Redon better known as Odilon Redon (April 20, 1840 – July 6, 1916) was a Symbolist painter and printmaker, born in Bordeaux, Aquitaine, France. Odilon was a nickname derived from his mother, Odile.

Redon started drawing as a young child, and at the age of 10 he was awarded a drawing prize at school. At age 15, he began formal study in drawing but on the insistence of his father he switched to architecture. His failure to pass the entrance exams at Paris’ Ecole des Beaux-Arts ended any plans for a career as an architect, although he would later study there under Jean-Leon Gerome.

He took up sculpture, and Rodolphe Bresdin instructed him in etching and lithography. His artistic career was interrupted in 1870 when he joined the army to serve in the Franco-Prussian War.

At the end of the war, he moved to Paris, working almost exclusively in charcoal and lithography. It would not be until 1878 that his work gained any recognition with Guardian Spirit of the Waters, and he published his first album of lithographs.

In the 1890s, he began to use pastel and oils, which dominated his works for the rest of his life. In 1899, he exhibited with the Nabis at Durand-Ruel’s. In 1903 he was awarded the Legion of Honor. His popularity increased when a catalogue of etchings and lithographs was published by Andre Mellerio in 1913 and that same year, he was given the largest single representation at the New York Armory Show.  More on Bertrand-Jean Redon

Roberto Ferri, (born 1978) 

Naiade, 2012

Oil on canvas

44 x 80 cm

Private collection

In Greek mythology, the Naiads are a type of female spirit, or nymph, presiding over fountains, wells, springs, streams, brooks and other bodies of fresh water.

They are distinct from river gods, who embodied rivers, and the very ancient spirits that inhabited the still waters of marshes, ponds and lagoon-lakes, such as pre-Mycenaean Lerna in the Argolis.

Naiads were associated with fresh water, as the Oceanids were with saltwater and the Nereids specifically with the Mediterranean, but because the ancient Greeks thought of the world’s waters as all one system, which percolated in from the sea in deep cavernous spaces within the earth, there was some overlap. Arethusa, the nymph of a spring, could make her way through subterranean flows from the Peloponnesus, to surface on the island of Sicily. More on Naiads

Roberto Ferri, (born 1978), see below

Roberto Ferri, (born 1978) 

Nereide, 2012

Oil on canvas


Private collection

In Greek mythology, the Nereids are sea nymphs. They often accompany Poseidon, the god of the sea, and can be friendly and helpful to sailors, like the Argonauts in their search for the Golden Fleece.

They symbolized everything that is beautiful and kind about the sea. Their melodious voices sang as they danced around their father. They are represented as very beautiful girls, crowned with branches of red coralt. They were part of Poseidon’s entourage and carried his trident. More on the Nereids 

Roberto Ferri (born 1978) is an Italian artist and painter from Taranto, Italy, who is deeply inspired by Baroque painters (Caravaggio in particular) and other old masters of Romanticism, the Academy, and Symbolism.

In 1996, he graduated from the Liceo Artistico Lisippo Taranto, a local art school in his hometown. He began to study painting on his own and moved to Rome in 1999, to increase research on ancient painting, beginning at the end of the 16th century, in particular. In 2006, he graduated with honors from the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome.

His work is represented in important private collections in Rome, Milan, London, Paris, New York, Madrid, Barcelona, Miami, San Antonio (Texas), Qatar, Dublin, Boston, Malta, and the Castle of Menerbes in Provence. His work was featured in the controversial Italian pavilion of the Venice Biennale 2011, and has exhibited at Palazzo Cini, Venice in the Kitsch Biennale 2010.

Roberto Manetta, Italy

The Nymph of the Woods


59.1 H x 39.4 W x 15.7 in

nymph in Greek mythology and in Latin mythology is a minor female nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform. Different from other goddesses, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing; their amorous freedom sets them apart from the restricted and chaste wives and daughters of the Greek polis.

A dryad is a tree nymph, specifically the nymphs of oak trees. The dryads of ash trees were called the Meliai… More on Nymph of the Woods

Roberto Manetta is a traveling freelance photographer, Film and digital photography, since 1999. “No digital manipulation,only photography My passion comes from nature, adventure stories, fantasy films that have contributed phenomenally to my project ideas and the major part of my photographs. I am always very attentive, in all of my movements, in everything surrounding me. I often dream about adventures, fairy tales and mythological women. I look around at the objects surrounding me, with attention, searching for a link between a nude body more than a face. Geometric lines and original compositions are always at the centre of my attention when I launch upon a new project. I don’t really like the classic approach to nude photography. During the years I tried to maintain in all my productions a quality that re-conducted to classical photography, the one which is created without the need of much digital elaboration” More on Roberto Manetta

Roberto Manetta, Italy

Milky Nymph 


Size: 29.5 H x 19.7 W x 7.9 in

In Greek mythology, maenads were the female followers of Dionysus and the most significant members of the Thiasus, the god’s retinue. Their name literally translates as “raving ones”.

As Plato says in the Ion, the god-intoxicated celebrants draw milk and honey from the streams. They strike rocks with the thyrsus, and water gushes forth. They lower the thyrsus to the earth, and a spring of wine bubbles up. If they want milk, they scratch up the ground with their fingers and draw up the milky fluid. Honey trickles down from the thyrsus made of the wood of the ivy, they gird themselves with snakes and give suck to fawns and wolf cubs as if they were infants at the breast. More on the Milky Nymph

Roberto Manetta, Italy, see above

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