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

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Perversely beautiful, or merely perverse - mythological subjects by Bartholomeus Spranger

Detail of below.
Venus and Adonis, circa 1595-1597.
Sine Cerere et Baccho friget Venere (Bacchus and Ceres Leaving Venus), circa 1590.
 Hercules and Omphale, circa 1585.
Ulysses and Circe, circa 1580-85.
Glaucus and Scylla, circa 1580-82.
Ares on the Battlefield, circa 1580.
Minerva Victorious over Ignorance, circa 1591,
Hermes and Athena (fresco), circa 1585.
Perseus and Andromeda, circa 1597.
Jupiter and Antiope, circa 1580s.
Hercules, Deianira and the Dead Centaur Nessus, circa 1580-82.
Hermaphroditus and the Nymph Salmacis, circa 1581.
Venus and Mars Warned by Mercury, circa 1586.


Self-portrait, circa 1580-85.

Bartholomeus Spranger (name variations: Bartholomaeus or Bartholomäus and Spraneers. 21 March 1546, Antwerp – 1611, Prague), Flemish painter, draughtsman, sculptor, and etcher. His had a very particular style, combining elements of Netherlandish painting with Italian influences, in particular the Roman Mannerists. His first important teachers were three Antwerp landscape painters. Later he traveled to Paris, arriving a few weeks before his nineteenth birthday. From there he went on to Italy, first Milan, then Parma, then Rome. Five years later, in 1570, he was appointed court painter to Pope Pius V. In 1576 he was called to Vienna by Maximilian II; the Holy Roman Emperor died shortly after his arrival. But his successor, Rudolf II, was even more keen to employ the artist. In 1581 he was appointed court painter (also valet de chambre), and a wealthy marriage was arranged for him. His home became a center for artists in Prague - the court having moved to that city - and he remained there until his death at the age of sixty-five.


  1. I've never read much about this artist before, so thank you for sharing! His depictions of Hercules are particularly impressive. He shows the hero's subjugation to Queen Omphale very strongly (that dainty jeweled headdress!). I think his Dutch training "warms up" his Mannerist style.

    1. I think you're exactly right about his work being a very particular blend of those two influences. : )