According to ancient myth, Mars was attracted to Rhea Silvia, a priestess of Vesta, the goddess of the hearth, who was also worshipped as the protectress of the family, of hospitality and of ordered community life. Ovid reports that Mars overpowered the Vestal while she was asleep.
Rubens shifted the scene to the temple. The god has been borne there on a cloud and passionately approaches the priestess, who cringes in horror: as a Vestal, she has sworn an oath of chastity, though possibly not of her own free will. Mars has removed his helmet, and with it his war-like aspirations, for the time being. Cupid, the god of love, acts as pimp, and leads Mars to Rhea. Virgil records that Mars had twins by Rhea Silvia, Romulus and Remus, who later founded Rome. Vesta’s eternal fire, tended by the priestess, burns on the altar on the right. As no images with human faces were made of this goddess, her shrine is marked by a statue of Pallas Athena instead.
Rubens demonstrated once more at this point that he was familiar with ancient sources and their contemporary interpretation, as by his friend Justus Lipsius in “De Vesta et Vestalibus Syntagma” (Antwerp, 1605). Rubens borrowed small details from Roman coins and ancient sarcophagi like the one in the Palazzo Mattei in Rome. The fact that the attributes of Mars and Athena are reversed shows that the painting was used as the basis for a tapestry. It is possible that it was intended as the first of a series on Romulus, but by 1625 at the latest, when the scene was taken up for the first time as part of a tapestry for the cycle on the Roman consul Decius Mus, Rubens had clearly abandoned his ideas for an independent series.
Hans Bol, 1859 – Landscape with the Story of Venus and Adonis
Hans Bol painted this unusualin two parts: the central landscape, painted on mounted on wood, and the framing design, painted directly on wood. Both parts tell the story of the beautiful youth Adonis from . In the main panel, and Adonis embrace before he leaves on the hunt shown in the distance, in which he is killed by a boar. Clockwise from left, the frame’s ovals show subsidiary incidents: mother Myrrha commits incest with her father; turned into the myrrh tree as punishment, Myrrha bears their son, Adonis; Venus is struck with love for Adonis; blood springing from the dead Adonis turns into the anemone flower.
In the frame, Bol combined the cartouches and trophies of a three-dimensional picture frame withborders reminiscent of . His materials–opaque color and gold paint on parchment–also follow the tradition of manuscript illumination.
Bad Teinach is a town in the district of Calw, situated in the Black Forest area of southwest Germany. The town is famous for the large alchemical-kabbalistic triptych that is mounted in a large baroque case near the altar of a small church in the town. I believe this triptych to be a major work of esoteric symbolism; it may even be considered by some people to be an example of “Objective Art” as defined by G. I. Gurdjieff or as “Symbolique Art” as defined by R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz.
This is a large work; with the panels closed, it measures approximately six meters high and five meters wide; it dominates the area to the right of the altar of the church. It seems to have been prepared as a “teaching painting” (“Lehrtafel” in German) for the use of Princess Antonia (1613-1679) of the Duchy of Württemberg. She was the daughter of Frederick I, Duke of Württemberg (1557-1608). Frederick had been an alchemist and occultist, who, in 1603, was invested into the Order of the Garter by King James I of England. The Lehrtafel was designed in the 1650s by several friends and academic advisors of Princess Antonia; it was completed in 1663 by the artist, Johann Friedrich Gruber (1620-1681), the court painter at Stuttgart, and was presented to the Princess on her fiftieth birthday. For 10 years (1663-73) the triptych remained in Stuttgart, in the bedroom of the princess as a devotional image. But in 1673, on the sixtieth birthday of Princess Antonia, the triptych was installed at the church in Bad Teinach, the town where the ducal family used to take their summer holidays. Antonia’s brother, Duke Eberhard III (1614-1674), had established the church as a private family chapel.
painted by Paolo Caliari (Veronese) – 1528-2588
Villa Barbaro, also known as the Villa di Maser, is a large villa at Maser in the Veneto region of northern Italy. It was designed and built by the Italian architect Andrea Palladio, with frescos by Paolo Veronese and sculptures by Alessandro Vittoria for Daniele Barbaro, Patriarch of Aquileia and ambassador to Queen Elizabeth I of England, and his brother Marcantonio an ambassador to King Charles IX of France.
In 1996 UNESCO declared the villa to be part of a World Heritage Site, “City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto” which includes more than twenty villas. It is open to the public.
On the ceiling in the Hall of Olympus Veronese illustrated the Divine Wisdom surrounded by planetary gods with the related zodiac signs. In teh corners are the personifications of the 4 elements: Juno – Air, Vulcan – Fire, Cybele – Earth and Neptune – Water. In the cameos are depicted Love, Fertility, Abundance and Luck.
In Greek mythology, Peitho is the goddess who personifies persuasion and seduction. Her Roman name is Suadela. Pausanias reports that after the unification of Athens, Theseus set up a cult of Aphrodite Pandemos and Peitho on the south slope of Acropolis at Athens. Peitho, in her role as an attendant or companion of Aphrodite, was intimately connected to the goddess of love and beauty. Ancient artists and poets explored this connection in their works. The connection is even deeper in the context of Ancient Greek marriage because a suitor had to negotiate with the father of a young woman for her hand in marriage and offer a bridal price in return for her. The most desirable women drew many prospective suitors, and persuasive skill often determined their success.
Aphrodite and Peitho were sometimes conflated to a certain extent, with the name Peitho appearing in conjunction with, or as an epithet of, Aphrodite’s name. This helps to demonstrate how the relationship between persuasion and love (or desire) was important in Greek culture. Peitho’s ancestry is somewhat unclear. According to Hesiod in the Theogony, Peitho was the daughter of the Titans Tethys and Oceanus, which would make her an Oceanid and therefore sister of such notable goddesses as Dione, Doris, Metis, and Calypso. However, Hesiod’s classification of Peitho as an Oceanid is contradicted by other sources. She is most commonly considered a daughter of Aphrodite. Peitho was the wife of Hermes, the messenger of the gods.