Thursday, February 7, 2013

Apelles and Campaspe

Apelles and Campaspe, c. 1585, by Jodocus Winghe (1542-1603)

Apelles and Campaspe, 1716, by Nicolas Vleughels (1668-1737)

Apelles and Campaspe, c. 1820, by Jacques-Louis David  (1748-1832)

Apelles and Campaspe, 1822, by Charles Meynier (1763-1832)

Apelles and Campaspe, 1740, by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770)

Apelles and Campaspe, c. 1720, by Gerard Wigmana (1673-1741)

A favorite subject of romantic-minded Neoclassical painters was Apelles, court painter of Alexander the Great, on the day when (according to tradition) Alexander introduced one of his favorites, Campaspe, and asked Apelles to paint her portrait. In some versions, Alexander is involved in the scene, in other versions he is distracted or absent. In some versions, Apelles falls immediately in love with Campaspe, in other versions he remains unmoved.

Tiepolo does the best job, clearly  while Meynier surprisingly stands out as second best with his cool formality and well-contrived period effects. For those reasons, I reproduce an addition Meynier (in a different genre) below.

Napoleon in 1809 by Charles Meynier (1763-1832)