In classical mythology, Parthenope was one of the Sirens who took her own life, throwing herself into the sea with her sisters because of Ulysses’ insensitivity to their song. Her body was thrown back by the waves at the mouth of the Sebeto, where the city later called Neàpolis-Naples was called Parthenope. In 1826, the architect Fontaine began work on the creation of nine rooms on the first floor of the south wing of the Cour Carrée, Palais du Louvre. These were opened in 1827 by Charles X. Ceilings were commissioned from the leading artists of the period to decorate these rooms, which were intended to house the Egyptian, Greek, Roman, medieval, and Renaissance collections. The scheme was completed with the decoration of the coves and the execution of painted bas-reliefs at the top of the walls, above the cornices. The subjects were inspired by the collections exhibited there. The painted ceilings of the first four rooms featured Homer, Pompeii, and Herculaneum, while those of the following four rooms illustrated Egypt and Renaissance architecture in Rome, and paid tribute to Charles X. In this image, by Charles Meynier, The nymphs of Naples, ancient Parthenope, bring Pompeian objects to Paris, represented here by the pediment of the façade of the Louvre. The ceiling coves are also by Meynier: eight large imaginary statues personifying cities, painted in grisaile in imitation of stone, frame the four compositions: The Siren Parthenope and Pluto and Vulcan Rejecting the Sacrifice Offered to them by the Town of Herculaneum, and two groups of flying children. The ceiling was commissioned in 1826. Salons of 1827 and 1833.
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