Henri Leopold Levy (French, 1840-1904)
All sold and unsold lots marked with a filled squa… Read more THE PROPERTY OF A LADY (LOTS 63, 135, 142)
Henri Leopold Levy (French, 1840-1904)

Aphrodite and Eros; and Dionysus and Ariadne

Details
Henri Leopold Levy (French, 1840-1904)
Aphrodite and Eros; and Dionysus and Ariadne
both signed 'Henry Levy' (lower right)
oil on canvas
89 x 36 ¼ in. (226 x 92 cm.)
(2)a pair
Special notice

All sold and unsold lots marked with a filled square in the catalogue that are not cleared from Christie’s by 5:00 pm on the day of the sale, and all sold and unsold lots not cleared from Christie’s by 5:00 pm on the fifth Friday following the sale, will be removed to the warehouse of ‘Cadogan Tate’. Please note that there will be no charge to purchasers who collect their lots within two weeks of this sale.

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Lot Essay

Levy’s skill was well recognised during his career. Having studied under Fromentin and Cabanel, he was a regular exhibitor at the Salon de Paris. Levy consistently favoured depicting mythical gods and goddesses in their celestial environments, and excelled at working on a large scale. He participated in the decoration of the Panthéon and the Hôtel de Ville, Paris.
The first of these works shows Aphrodite and Eros. Eros, depicted as a winged youth, sits on Aphrodite’s knee receiving an offering of flowers. The inclusion of land and sea below juxtaposes their elevated position, creating an added grandeur to this large work.
The second shows Dionysus and Ariadne. Ariadne was stranded on the island of Naxos after aiding Theseus to escape the Labyrinth. It was Dionysus who came to save her. Dionysus took her bejewelled crown, threw it into the sky, and thus created a constellation. The couple were married soon after. In the present lot Dionysus is pictured surrounded with his revelling Maenads, whilst the diagonal line created by his Thyrsus leads to the disporting Putti, who create movement throughout this large canvas. The inclusion of the leopard in this composition indicates that Dionysus has returned from the east, as described by Ovid.

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