Johann Heinrich Schonfeld

Rape of the Sabine Women

Rape of the Sabine Women
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Author: Johann Heinrich Schonfeld
History Painting, Painting, Oil on canvas, 98.5x134 cm
Origin: Germany, 1630s - 1640s

Schonfeld was perhaps one of the most talented German 17th-century painters. He lived some years in Rome and Naples, creating many scenes based on legends from the history of Ancient Rome, such as this. When the city was founded it had only male inhabitants and local tribes refused to give their women in marriage. The Romans organised a feast to which they invited their neighbours, the Sabines, and at the height of the festivities abducted all the girls. In the foreground we can see the tumbled, intertwined figures of soldiers and women, set against a pearly grey fountain, its whimsical forms echoing typical park architecture of the 17th century. The colours are light and festive, the forms are treated easily and freely, and small details are often only hinted at with a flexible stroke of the brush. For Schonfeld, such scenes from ancient mythology represented the clear and joyful world of poetic invention.

Personage: Sabine Women
Theme: History

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