The Great Mythological Cycles

In the second part of the 19th century Halls can be found a cycle of paintings with historical and mythological subjects completed by Sebastiano Ricci and his studio between the end of the XVII and XVIII centuries. They are in dialogue with works from the Parma Academy of Fine Arts, in particular “The Death of Virginia” by Gabriel Françoise Doyen, first acquisition in 1759 after the transfer of the Farnese collection to Naples. The representation of power within the ambit of neo-classicism, which tended to endow the sovereigns with divine attributes, gets inspiration from classical deities and proposes similar solutions in terms of propaganda often repeated in series. Look, for example, at the canvas by Ricci of “Apelles painting Campaspe” and compare it with his “Self-portrait together with is wife” by Baldrighi, to perceive heroic activities which assimilate members of the Court and their occupations to the Gods on Mount Olympus. In terms of seriality, in the “Abduction of Helen” the female figure forcefully carried is quite similar to “The Death of Virginia” in an iconography inspired in both cases by “The Abduction of the Sabines” by Pietro da Cortona in the Capitoline Museums.

Photo credits
Giovanni Hänninen