L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Friday, February 7, 2014

L'Enlèvement de Déjanire par le centaure Nessus by Lagrenée, 1755

The Abduction of Deianira by the Centaur Nessus

Louis-Jean-François Lagrenée, see here.

A delightfully silly, pervy painting on a suitably mythologic theme: the centaur Nessus, having agreed to take Heracles' wife, Deianira, across the river Euenos, is instead attempting to abduct her.  But Heracles is having none of this and is just now shooting a poisoned, fatal arrow at the four-hooved opportunist.  The position of the geezer, who one may presume to be a river god - lolling on his back, clutching at tail and flank - is really quite odd.  Is he valiantly attempting to slow the getaway?  Or has he just been trampled?  (Can one be trampled in water?)  Or does he merely have an extreme fondness for centaur buttocks?

I find the use of color in this painting - and my response to it - very interesting.  Other than the flesh-tones, the predominant colors here are cool blues and greens.  What should really stand out most is the bright gold patch of drapery at dead center but, at least for me, it's actually the pink that dominates.  Deianira's wonderful silken garment flung out against the sky.  But also her rosy cheeks and nipple and - improbably - the cleft in Nessus' rump; his butt gives off a pink glow.


Self-portrait by Lagrenée, 1750.
Portrait of Lagrenée in 1788 - thirty-eight years later - by Jean-Laurent Mosnier.

1 comment:

  1. yes it's the pink that stands out to me as well which is surprising as you'd think it's such a soft color compared to that gold. Always loved this painting though.