Italy, (fl. 1481; d. 1513)
Penelope with the Suitors
- (ca. 1509), fresco detached and mounted on canvas
- 49.4 x 59.8 in. (125.5 x 152 cm)
- National Gallery, London
The woman at the loom is Penelope, wife of Odysseus. The men before her are suitors and the man entering the room is Odysseus, disguised as a beggar.
Other episodes in the poem are depicted through the window in the distance. Odysseus listens to the song of the sirens strapped to the mast of the ship while his crew block their ears. Sailors in a small boat nearby dive into the water, maddened by the beauty of the singing.
And here is a close up of Odysseus and Circe on the coast: Circe meets Odysseus. Around them are the swine and other animals into which this sorceress has turned previous visitors.
This image is part of the group: “Three Frescoes from Palazzo del Magnifico, Siena,” a series of edifying subjects painted in a room of the Petrucci Palace in Siena in about 1509. The two other paintings are ‘The Triumph of Chastity’ and ‘Coriolanus persuaded by his Family to spare Rome’, both by Luca Signorelli (ca. 1440/50-1523) and are also in the National Gallery. [adapted from: National Gallery, London]
About the Artist
Bernardino di Betto, called Pintoricchio or Pinturicchio or Sordicchio (1454–1513) was an Italian painter of the Renaissance who worked in oils and frescos.
Pinturicchio was employed by various wealthy families, Popes, Cardinals and others to design and create frescoes for a variety of chapels in the Vatican and throughout Rome, Siena, Orvieto and Perugia.
Many authenticated works by him still exist. His most important works are in the Borgia Apartments in the Vatican and in the Piccolomini Library in Siena Cathedral. [DES-01/11]