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Studio of Gérard de Lairesse (Liège 1640-1711 Amsterdam)
Studio of Gérard de Lairesse (Liège 1640-1711 Amsterdam)

Mercury and Herse

Details
Studio of Gérard de Lairesse (Liège 1640-1711 Amsterdam)
Mercury and Herse
with initials 'GL' (lower left)
oil on canvas
26 1/8 x 31½ in. (66.4 x 80 cm.)

Lot Essay

The present composition is known in more than one version. Dr. Alain Roy (Gérard de Lairesse, 1992, p. 496, under no. P.R. 15) lists three versions: the first, on canvas, 50 x 62 cm., is in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon; the second, on canvas 55.2 x 68.5, was offered for sale, Christie's, New York, 15 May 1996, lot 34, and the third was offered for sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 5 March 1986, lot 155. Dr. Roy rejects De Lairesse's authorship for the above versions, suggesting an alternative attribution to Ottmar Elliger II.
The subject is taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses, II: vv. 708-832, which relates how Mercury, having fallen in love with Herse, enters her room and turned Aglauros, Herse's jealous sister, to stone with a touch of his wand.

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