Landscape with a Scene of Enchantment
- (ca. 1590), oil on canvas
- 27.8 x 81.3 in. (185 x 206.5 cm.)
- National Gallery, London
The subject of this work is possibly a fantasy loosely based on a version of the Circe story featured in the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodius (fl. after 246 BC). In the painting above, one woman has the head of a hog, another that of a toad, and one has a serpent for a tail. The companion piece to this painting ‘The Sons of Boreas pursuing the Harpies’, also seems to derive from the Argonautica.
Here is a close up of the woman with the head of a hog:
About the Artist
Paolo Fiammingo (ca.1540-1596) was a Flemish painter and draughtsman, active in Italy. Born in Antwerp, he registered in the Guild of St Luke there in 1561, but by 1573 he is recorded as working in Venice, as an assistant in Tintoretto’s studio, where he specialised in painting landscape backgrounds. Fiammingo remained based in Venice, where he eventually opened a successful studio.
Fiammingo painted many religious works, but his reputation was based on mythological fantasies. He gave a Venetian softness and grace to the theme of Classical demigods in dreamlike landscapes. [DES-01/11]