Jacques-Louis David

Sappho and Phaon

Sappho and Phaon
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Author: Jacques-Louis David
History Painting, Painting, Oil on canvas, 225.3x262 cm
Origin: France, 1809

David is considered the founder and leading light of French Neoclassicism, which dominated art in the late 18th and early 19th century. Sappha and Phaon is a characteristic example of his late work, in the Empire style, when intimate scenes from private life became popular. In the painting we see the Ancient Greek poetess Sappho and her beloved, Phaon. Cupid, who holds out to Sappho a lyre , symbolizes the idea of love as a source of creative inspiration. On Sappho's knees is a scroll with a Greek inscription, the first line of her Second Ode: "He seems the equal of God..." The historically convincing depiction of Classical attire, shoes and details in the interior is combined with a sentimental, lyrical interpretation of loving harmony, revealed in the languid voluptuousness of the pose, the tender embrace, and even such traditional metaphors for love as the pair of kissing doves and the two trees in the landscape.

Personage: Sappho
Style: Neo-Classicism
Source of entry: Yusupov Palace Museum, Leningrad, 1925
Theme: History
Exibition: French Art: 19th - 20th centuries

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