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Circle of Kaspar Jacob van Opstall II (circa 1654-1717)
Circle of Kaspar Jacob van Opstall II (circa 1654-1717)

Aenaes and his companion meeting King Anius on Delos

Details
Circle of Kaspar Jacob van Opstall II (circa 1654-1717)
Aenaes and his companion meeting King Anius on Delos
oil on canvas
circa 350 x 570cm.
Sale Room Notice
In view of the size of the picture, we guarantee the safe and intact delivery at the gate of the castle

Lot Essay

The subject is taken from Vergil's Aeneid, III, where Aeneas, on his flight after the sack of Troy, arrives on the isle of Delos. There he meets the High-Priest Anius, who orders him to make a sacrifice at the temple of Apollo and Diana, who were born under the two trees of contrasting shape in the centre of the composition. Aeneas dressed as a warrior stands in the centre, with Anius in a blue cloak greeting him on his right. Aeneas's son, Ascanius, is seated on the far left. A priest near an altar awaits the arrival of cattle to be sacrificed. Nymphs are dancing in the centre.
The subject was rarely depicted. It was treated by Claude Lorrain in his drawing of 1670 now in the Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam and in the picture of 1673 in the National Gallery, London (see J.W. Niemeyer, "Aeneas op Delos" in Bulletin van het Rijksmuseum, 1965, pp.41-44, fig.1-2).
The present picture is a characteristic example of the classicizing style in the Netherlands of circa 1700, for which a theoretical basis was to be given by Gerard de Lairesse in the Groote Schilderboeck, published in 1707. De Lairesse considered history painting of the highest rank among the different genres, for which Homer, Vergil and Ovid provided an inexhaustible supply of subject-matter. He expanded rules for composition, the placing of the figures in the landscape, lighting and costume.
We are grateful to Gerdi Krebber of the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie, The Hague, for her help in cataloguing this lot.
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