IL CAVALIERE D`ARPINO (GIUSEPPE CESARI)

GLAUCOS`DEPRIVATION OF SYME

1568 Rome - 1640
Panel, 62,5 x 47 cm

Essay

Our painting depicts the story of the Sea God Glaucos (greek for: shiny, bright and bluish-green).  

He was a human being once who was turned into a Sea God. In some of the Myths he is referred to as the son of Poseidon and constructor of the fabulous ship Argo (for Jason and his Argonauts) and to have accompanied the Argonauts as steersman seen. It is said that he was the only one who remained unhurt in the battle of Jason against the Tyrrshenians. During the battle he was hiding on the sea ground where he became a marine deity. In Greece there was a believing that once a year Glaucos visited the islands and coasts and uttered his prophecies.

His amourous adventures were a very popular subject for artists and poets. 

It is alleged that he raped a woman named Syme and took her to an island near Rhodos, which from then on was named Symi.

This story of the Rape by Glaucos may also refer to an etching by Albrecht Dürer "The Wonder of the Sea" (Fig.1). Apart from the mythological idea - the main focus is on the depiction of a nude, shown in a very artificial pose.

In our painting the female nude is in the main focus of the composition. Syme is rendered in a rather delicate twisted position, and set in an absolute contrast to the figure of Glaucos.  These antipodal movements as well as the opposed colours of skins,  make the composition so dynamic. The climax is set by the cloth, underlining the movement of the female nude. 

 


Provenance

Private Collection France



Fig. 1 Albrecht Dürer, "The Wonder of the Sea", engraving, c. 1498-1500