Perhaps better recognized as THE most successful of European portrait artists of the mid-eighteenth century(as popularity goes, think of him as today’s Mario Testino, painting the “in” crowd of the 1750s), Pompeo Batoni (1708-1787) was also an accomplished painter of mythological scenes.
Early in his career he was drawn to Rome by the rich sensuousness of Baroque art and the numerous collections of antiquities from which he developed his skill as an exquisite copyist of classical sculpture. One can easily appreciate his talent in this majestic rendition of Vulcan, a brilliant exercise of male musculature. Here, not a detail is missed; even the bulging veins of the forearms and hands are revealed! And the momentary contortion of his body to the left, as seen by his flowing locks, tell us he is distracted. Can it be that he smells his dinner going up in smoke? Or perhaps it is one of his Cyclops arriving late for work?
This painting is to be one of many exhibited in a newly minted Old Master Paintings Fair in Paris early in November. Paris Tableau opens to the public from Friday 4 – Tuesday 8 November 2011 at the Palais de la Bourse where 20 of the best picture dealers, including Galerie Canesso, Galerie Giovanni Sarti, Galeria Caylus and Noortman Master Paintings will be showing off the best old master offerings in the market.
image credit: Galerie Canesso, Paris. Vulcan at his Forge, oil on canvas, 37.1/16 x 29 in. | 94.2 x 73.7 cm. Monogrammed and dated.