Lot 186
  • 186

Antonio Zanchi

30,000 - 50,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Antonio Zanchi
  • The Death of Ajax
  • oil on canvas


Pericle Stavropulos, Athens, circa 1936;
Private collection, Athens, by 1966.


A. Riccoboni, 'Antonio Zanchi e la Pittura Veneziana del Seicento' in Saggi e memorie di storia dell'arte, Florence 1966, vol. 5, p. 117, no. 12, reproduced p. 195.

Catalogue Note

The Greek mythological hero Ajax was the son of Telamon, King of Salamis. He was the cousin of Achilles, and after him one of the greatest heroes of the Trojan War. It was he who defended the corpse of Patroclus and later carried the body of Achilles from the field of battle. His grief following the latter's death, as well as his failure to convince the Greeks that he should inherit his armour, led him to take his own life with the sword given to him by his Trojan opponent Hector.  According to Ovid's Metamorphoses  (13, 391-426), where his blood fell the purple hyacinth grew up.

This dramatic tenebrist canvas is probably a work of Zanchi's early maturity, dating from around or shortly after 1660. At this date his work betrays a keen interest in the early work of Luca Giordano and the Genoese Giovanni Battista Langetti, who had recently settled in Venice. Comparable figures may, for example, be found in his Alexander the Great and the body of Darius painted for the Palazzo Albrizzi in Venice and still in situ.