Apollo and Phaëton

Painting of mythical scene of Apollo and Phaethon.

Giambattista Tiepolo (1696–1770)
Apollo and Phaëton, ca. 1730–35
Oil on canvas
26 3/4 × 20 7/8 in. (68 × 53 cm)
Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildenden Künst, Vienna
Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien


This painting depicts the same episode shown in the Archinto ceiling. Here, the principal grouping of Apollo and his son Phaëton appears at the top left. Apollo stands on a cloud, while Phaëton kneels in front of him, holding a torch. Above them, Time flies inexorably. On the right are the Four Seasons, not dissimilar in composition from the Archinto fresco. Below them, the Hours tether two horses to the gold chariot of the Sun. A younger winged figure appears at the top, pouring water out of a vase and extinguishing a torch. This is probably Lucifer, the morning star. To the right, between Time and Autumn, the arch of the zodiac is portrayed, with the symbols of Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius. The handling of this sketch is freer and more assertive than in the Los Angeles sketch. And this canvas does not seem to be preparatory for a ceiling, as it shows the scene frontally instead of in perspective from below.

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