Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Summer Myth of Pomona & Vertumnus - Gardens, Orchards, & Finding Love

Jan Tengnagel (1584-1631) Pomona & Vertumnus (Of course I love this painting because of the 17C walled garden & those garden pots & tools.)

Pomona was the beautiful goddess of fruitful abundance in ancient Roman religion & myth. Pomona was said to be a wood nymph. The name Pomona comes from the Latin word pomum, "fruit," specifically orchard fruit. She was said to be  a part of the Numia, the guardian spirits who watch over people, places, or homes. While Pomona watches over & protects fruit trees & cares for their cultivation, she is not actually associated with the harvest of fruit itself, but with tending the flourishing of the fruit trees. In artistic depictions she is generally shown with a platter of fruit or a cornucopia & perhaps her pruning knife

Pomona, the alluring wood nymph, actually cared nothing for the wild woods but cared only for her well-cultivated fruit filled gardens & orchards. And Pomona had a thing about men. She fenced her garden orchards, so the rude young men couldn't trample her plants & vines. She also kept her orchards enclosed, because she wanted to keep away the men who were attracted to her good looks. Even dancing satyrs(a cross between a man & a goat) were attracted to her beauty. Despite the fact that she preferred to be alone to care & nurture her trees, this beauty was continually besieged by suitors, in particular one persistent god named Vertumnus. Vertumnus had the ability to take different human guises & made numerous attempts to woo Pomona, but she turned him away each time.

The god Vertumus caught on to Pomona's aversion to men in her orchards & in her life generally. In Roman mythology, Vertumnus, the young, handsome god of changing seasons & patron of fruits, determined to win over Pomona.  He could change his form at will according to Ovid's Metamorphoses (xiv).  He came to her in various male disguises, which included, a reaper, an apple picker, a fisher, a solider, & more. Even with the disguises, she still never paid him the slightest bit of attention. One day Vertumnus tried a disguise as an old women. And Pomona finally allowed him to enter her garden, where he pretended to be interested in her fruit. But he finally told her he was more exquisite than her crops. After saying that, he kissed her passionately, but it wasn't enough. Vertumnus kept trying to sway her by telling her a story of a young women who rejected a boy who loved her; in despair, the boy killed hung himself, & Venus punished the girl by turning her to stone. This narrative warning of the extreme dangers of rejecting a suitor (the embedded tale of Iphis & Anaxarete) still did not seduce her. It just didn't work, of course. He then realized that it was the feminine disguise didn't work & tore it off.  It wasn't until Vertumnus appeared before her in his full manliness (apparently quite a good looking male specimen), that Pomona finally gave in to his inviting male charms. Vertumnus is a god of gardens & orchards & so it appears they were a match made in heaven. To his surprise, she fell in love with his manly wiles, & they became the ultimate loving couple working & playing in gardens & orchards together from then on.

The tale of Vertumnus & Pomona has been said to be the only purely Latin tale in Ovid's Metamorphoses. The subject of Vertumnus & Pomona appealed to European sculptors & painters of the 16th through the 18th centuries, providing a disguised erotic subtext in a scenario that contrasted youthful female beauty with an aged old woman. But it wasn't the old woman that ultimatrly won the day. In narrating the tale in the Metamorphoses, Ovid observed that the kind of kisses given by Vertumnus were never given by an old woman.  In Ovid's myth, Pomona scorned the love of the woodland gods Silvanus & Picus, but finally married the brutally handsome Vertumnus. She & Vertumnus were celebrated in  an annual Roman festival on August 13. There is a grove that is dedicated to her called the Pomonal, located not far from Ostia, the ancient port of Rome. Unlike many other Roman goddesses & gods, Pomona does not have a Greek counterpart, though she is often associated with Demeter.

Monday, June 21, 2021

16-18C Children with Summer Flowers - both Real & Symbolic

1611 Frans Pourbus, Jr. (1569-1622) Queen Henrietta Maria as a child

During the Renaissance 1400-1700, nature was viewed as a reflection of the divine, & flowers often were seen as reflections of Christian morals. During the Medieval period 5C - 15C, many spring gardens were created with spiritual & religious symbolism in mind. An intricate & almost clandestine language based on flower symbolism developed, & flowers in paintings sometimes became associated with emotion, morals, & ideology.

Symbolic & Religious Meanings assigned to Flowers
Red Carnation = romantic love.
Daisy = innocence.
Hyacinth = prudence & peace of mind.
Iris = the Virgin Mary.
Lily = purity, virginity, & justice.
Rose = the Virgin Mary & love.
Sunflower = divine love, & devotion.
Tulip = nobility.
Violet = modesty & humility.

1580s Attributed to Adriaen van der Linde  c.1560-1609
1582 DaniĆ«l van den Queborn (Dutch artist, 1552–1602)  Louise Juliana of Orange-Nassau aged c. 6
1600-20 English School. Girl with a Rose, Unknown Artist
1619 Unknown artist Four Children of Sir Thomas Lucy III and Alice Spencer (Robert, Richard, Constance and Margaret)
1600s Dutch School, early 17C. Portrait of a Young Girl
1620s Unknown artist, portrait of a Young Boy, Henry France or Wales
1623 Paulus Moreelse Girl 1623 National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin
1620-30s Cornelis de Vos (Flemish artist, 1585-1651) Artist's Daughter
1621 Cornelis de Vos (Flemish artist, 1585-1651) Magdalena de Vos with an Orange & a Rose
1635 Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp (Dutch artist, 1594-1650) Three Children of Sebastiaan Francken and Jacobmijna van Casteren
1638 Willem van der Vliet (Dutch artist, c 1584-1642) Portrait of a Child
1647 Pierre Mignard (French artist, 1612-1695) The Children of the duc de Bouillon
1650 Jan Mytens (Dutch artist, c.1614-1670) Portrait of an Unknown Young Girl Seated on the Ground with a Basket of Roses
1660s Nicolaes Maes (Dutch artist, 1634-1693) Two Young Girls
1660 Peter Lely (English artist, 1618-1680) Winston & Arabella children of Sir Winston Churchill
1663 Jan Albertsz. Rotius (Dutch artist, 1624-1666) Portrait of a Young Girl with Carnations
1670 before Attributed to Italian Sebastiano Giuliense called Sebastiano II
1695 Unknown artist, Mary Myddelton (1688–1747) and Sir William Myddelton (1694–1718) as Children
1700s Bartholomew Dandridge (Englsih artist, 1691-c.1754) The Ballard Children
1723 Alexis Simon Belle (French artist, 1674–1734) Mariana Victoria of Spain (1718-1734) with Spring flowers in a garden by a fountain near a statue.
1730 Gerardus Duyckinck (Colonial American artist, 1695-1746) Girl in Blue Dress
1730s Charles Bridges (Colonial American artist, 1670-1747) Girls of the Grymes Family
1750 John Singleton Copley (American, artist, 1738–1815) Elizabeth Greenleaf
1755 John Singleton Copley (American artist, 1738-1815). The Gore Children
1772 Carl-Ludwig Christinek (Belarus artist, 1732–1792) Sisters

Sunday, June 20, 2021

17C Spring Lover presents a fragrant new Summer Rose to a Woman by Jeremiasz Flack (active 1656 -1677)

Sense of Smell. A Lover presents a fragrant Summer Rose to a Woman by Jeremiasz Falck (active 1656 -1677) engraver

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Friday, June 18, 2021

Thursday, June 17, 2021

19C Spring Idyll by George Henry Boughton (1833–1905)

George Henry Boughton (American artist, 1833–1905) Spring Idyll (Hoping this is the most accurate of the several attributions.)

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Thursday, June 10, 2021

17C Spring Allegory with a Garden by Wenceslaus Hollar 1607-1677

Wenceslaus Hollar (Czech artist, 1607-1677)  Spring

Wenceslaus Hollar was born in 1607, the son of an upper middle-class civic official. He left his native Prague at age 20, and likely studied in Frankfurt under Matthaus Merian. His 1st book of etchings was published in 1635, in Cologne, when Hollar was 28. The following year he came to the attention of the art collector the Earl of Arundel who was making an official visit to the continent, & Hollar subsequently became a part of his household, settling in England early in 1637. He remained in England during the beginning of the English Civil War period; but left London for Antwerp in 1642, where he continued to work on a variety of projects. In 1652, he returned to England, working on a number of large projects for the publisher John Ogilby & Sir William Dugdale. Hollar was in London during the Great Fire of 1666, & remains most famous for his scenes of the city before & after the fire. He a skilled etcher, which is remarkable given that he was almost blind in one eye. Hollar died in London on 25 March 1677. By his life's end, he had produced nearly 3000 separate etchings.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

17C Puttie & Spring in the Garden attr to Jan Breughel II (1601-1678)

Attributed to Jan Breughel II (1601-1678) Formal Spring Garden with a central Fountain & a few Flower Pickers

Monday, June 7, 2021

17C Spring Allegory with Flowers & a Garden by Wenceslaus Hollar 1607-1677

1641 Wenceslaus Hollar (Czech, 1607-1677) Spring

Wenceslaus Hollar was born in 1607, the son of an upper middle-class civic official. Very little is known about his early life, but he evidently learned the rudiments of his craft by age eighteen, left his native Prague at age twenty, and likely studied in Frankfurt under Matthaus Merian. His first book of etchings was published in 1635, in Cologne when Hollar was twenty-eight. The following year he came to the attention of the renowned art collector the Earl of Arundel who was making an official visit to the continent, and Hollar subsequently became a part of his household, settling in England early in 1637. He remained in England during the beginning of the English Civil War period, but left London for Antwerp in 1642, where he continued to work on a variety of projects. In 1652 he returned to England, working on a number of large projects for the publisher John Ogilby and for the antiquary Sir William Dugdale. Hollar was in London during the Great Fire of 1666, and remains most famous for his scenes of the city before and after the fire. He was one of the most skilled etchers of his or any other time, which is all the more remarkable given that he was almost blind in one eye. Hollar died in London on 25 March 1677. By his life's end, he had produced some 2700 separate etchings.