Simeon Solomon (1840-1905)
Simeon Solomon (1840-1905)

Mercury and Proserpina

Details
Simeon Solomon (1840-1905)
Mercury and Proserpina
pencil, watercolour and bodycolour, heightened with gum arabic and with scratching out on board
9 7/8 x 13 ¼ in. (25.1 x 33.6 cm.)
Provenance
with Maas Gallery, London.

Brought to you by

Clare Keiller
Clare Keiller

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Lot Essay

Solomon shared the Pre-Raphaelite interest in Greek and Roman mythology, and was perhaps influenced by Rossetti's obsession with the story of Proserpina, a subject the older artist returned to at least seven times. Here Solomon moves away from the traditional representation of Proserpina holding a pomegranate, to a depiction of the emotionally charged encounter between Proserpina and Mercury, who has been sent to return her from the underworld to her home. Solomon places the two figures on slightly different planes, creating a sense of dislocation which draws attention to Proserpina's plight - forced to spend six months of every year with Hades in the underworld for having eaten the forbidden pomegranate seeds.
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