Luca Giordano

Battle Between the Lapiths and Centaurs

Battle Between the Lapiths and Centaurs
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Author: Luca Giordano
Battle Painting, Painting, Oil on canvas, 255x390 cm
Origin: Italy, Circa 1688

"Fa presto" was the nickname given to Giordano by his contemporaries, and indeed in his life the master produced in the region of two thousand works. His rich means of expression, perfect sense of composition, colour and texture, are all visible in this work, a marvellous example of decorative Baroque art. The main source of Classical legends for 17th-century artists was Ovid's Metamorphoses. Here we read of the tribe of Lapiths who invited the Centaurs to the wedding of their King, Pirithous. During the feast the Centaurs sought to steal the bride, the beautiful Hippodamia, and her friends. Thus began a great battle, in which the Lapiths were victorious only thanks to the aid of the gods. Giordano unfolds the landscape almost panoramically on this large canvas, filling it with battling figures. At the centre of the fighting is the centaur Eurytion, from whose powerful hands Hippodamia is seeking to escape. The hero Theseus attacks the kidnapper, brandishing his unsheathed sword. The centaur's broad croup seems to project from the picture, a characteristic feature of Baroque art, which tended to break down the borders between the illusory and real worlds.

Personage: Lapiths
Style: Baroque
Source of entry: Stroganov Palace Museum, Leningrad, 1930
School: Neapolitan
Theme: Religion and Mythology of Antiquity

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