A PAIR OF GRISAILLE STUDIES DEPICTING HERCULES AND CRONOS IN THE MANNER OF ANTONIO VERRIO

June 16 2009, 2:22pm

The present pair of oval paintings represent the mythological figures of Hercules and Cronos. The composition of the paintings is closely related to the forms of antique sculpture, here given greater animation and a baroque sense of drama. Hercules is shown at the height of his powers with a massive, bulky presence and the closely trimmed beard of a young man. He is often depicted in a similar pose, astride the Nemean lion, whose slaying was the first of his twelve labors. The second painting depicts Cronos or Saturn, the ancient god of agriculture who, in his Greek manifestation, features in the myth of creation and came to be associated with Time. He is always shown as an aged man, with a long beard and without the strident virility of the younger Hercules. As the deity of agriculture and of time, he rests on a scythe with a snake consuming itself, an ancient symbol of eternity, hanging from the withered branch on which he leans.