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Giulio Romano (1499 - 1546)



January 24, 2002
New York, NY, US

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oil on panel, unframed This painting, which has always been presumed lost, once belonged to a cycle of scenes illustrating episodes from the life of Jupiter and his family. The group was considered by Hartt to consist of twelve paintings in all (see Literature below, pp. 211-216) but Shearman has shown that the cycle is more likely to have consisted of between sixteen and eighteen paintings, some of which remain untraced and are known merely through drawings or engravings (see Literature below, pp. 129-131). A number of paintings and drawings relating to the series, designed and in great part executed by Giulio Romano, have survived. The paintings were almost certainly commissioned by the Duke of Mantua: many of them are listed in the Gonzaga inventory (`quadri d'asse') and some were later acquired by Charles I of England (1600-1649). Six paintings from the cycle are still to be found in English collections: The Infant Jupiter Guarded by Corybantes on Crete (National Gallery, London); Jupiter Suckled by the Goat Amalthea; The Birth of Apollo and Diana; Jupiter and Juno Taking Possession of Heaven; Chiron and the Young Achilles (all in the Royal Collection, Hampton Court Palace); and The Weaning of Hercules (formerly Dr. Ephraim Shapiro collection, London). Of the remaining paintings which originally formed part of the group, four (including the present work) are recorded in engravings by Giulio Bonasone: Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto drawing lots for their Kingdoms; Jupiter and Juno received in the Heavens by Ganymede and Hebe; Pluto descending into Hades; and Neptune in his Chariot (S. Boorsch & J. Spike, The Illustrated Bartsch. vol. 28. Formerly vol. 15 (Part 1). Italian Masters of the Sixteenth Century, 1985, illus. pp. 299-302, nos. 93-96 (137); and, more recently, S. Massari, see Literature below, 1993, pp. 67-68, cat. no. 56, illus. p. 68). Other paintings which may have been associated with the group include: The Birth of Bacchus (J. Paul Getty Muse


Presumably commissioned by Federico II Gonzaga, 5th Marchese and 1st Duke of Mantua (1500-1540), but apparently not recorded in the Gonzaga documents James Irvine (1757-1831), Rome (Sale: Christie's, London, March 24, 1792, lot 46)

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