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26

Herman van Swanevelt

Polyphemus and Galatea; The Judgment of Paris

Estimate:

40,000

to
- 60,000 USD

Herman van Swanevelt

Herman van Swanevelt

Polyphemus and Galatea; The Judgment of Paris

Polyphemus and Galatea; The Judgment of Paris

Estimate:

40,000

to
- 60,000 USD

Herman van Swanevelt

Woerden circa 1600 - 1655 Paris

Polyphemus and Galatea; The Judgment of Paris


the former signed lower left: HVS (in ligature) WANEVELT . / ... 1642; the latter signed lower right: H SWANEVELT . FA . VEN 

a pair, both oil on canvas

each canvas: 24 3/8 by 29 1/2 in.; 61.9 by 74.9 cm.

each framed: 32 1/4 by 36 3/4 in.; 81.9 by 93.3 cm.

2

To request this condition report please contact alison.macqueen@sothebys.com



Herner Wengraf, until at least 1974;
From whom acquired by Richard L. Feigen.
A. Sutherland Harris, Landscape Paintings in Rome 1595-1675, New York, 1985, pp. 29-30;
A.C. Steland, Herman van Swanevelt (um 1603-1655) Gemälde und Zeichnungen, Petersberg 2010, vol. I, nos. G 1 36 A and B, pp. 145, vol. II, reproduced pp. 442 and 443, figs. G 100 and G 101.

One of the most successful landscape painters of his day, Herman van Swanevelt was born near Utrecht but spent the majority of his career in Paris and Rome where he was an innovator in landscape painting and worked alongside some of the greatest landscape painters of the seventeenth century, such as Claude Lorrain. His historical and mythological landscapes were highly sought after, and he counted Pope Urban VIII Barberini, Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu, and King Louis XIV of France among his patrons. In the late 1630s King Philip IV of Spain commissioned Swanevelt, along with his contemporaries Jan Both, Nicolas Poussin, Gaspard Dughet, and Claude Lorrain to paint monumental landscapes for the Buen Retiro Palace in Madrid.


The present pair of mythological landscapes can be dated to around the time when Swanevelt was working on the paintings commissioned by the King of Spain. The classical style of the decorative figures with their similar faces and long legs, and the atmospheric effects of the landscapes, with the trees and vistas veiled in mist are all comparable to the detail in Landscape with Hermit Preaching, which Swanevelt painted for the Buen Retiro between 1639 and 1641, and is now in the Museo del Prado, Madrid (inv. no. P005121).1


These two landscapes both present mythological love stories that end in misfortune. Ovid tells the story of the Triumph of Galatea in his Metamorphoses. He recounts how the water nymph Galatea escaped from the affections of the cyclops Polyphemus, and instead chose the handsome Acis as her lover. Later, Polyphemus would discover the couple together and kill Acis in a fit of rage. The story of The Judgment of Paris ends in an equally tragic way, as it led to the Trojan War. When Zeus asked the mortal Paris to judge the beauty of the goddesses Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena, Aphrodite tempted him to choose her by offering him the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Sparta, the wife of the Greek king Menelaus. When Paris claimed her and brought her back to Troy, it served as the catalyst for the legendary war.


1. Steland 2010, p.22