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  • Landscape with the Scene of an Ancient Festival

    Artist:
    Hackert, Jakob Philipp. 1737-1807
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    66x89,5 cm

Hackert, Jakob Philipp. 1737-1807

Landscape with the Scene of an Ancient Festival

Germany, 1781

Title:

Landscape with the Scene of an Ancient Festival

Place:

Date:

Material:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

66x89,5 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1925; formerly in the Yusupov collection

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-5329

Comment:

A poorly discernible inscription in the painting gave V. Krönig [1966] and then for N.N.Nikulin [1987] the reason to believe that the poet and painter Salomon Gessner (1730–1788) collaborated with Hackert while creating this work. The painting illustrates an episode from the bucolic poem ‘Daphnis’ by S. Gessner’ published in 1754. Shepherds and shepherdesses gather for an annual spring festival. The natural arch of a grotto, located on an island, affords a view of the Neto River flowing into the Ionian Sea. The feasters decorate with flowers the depictions of nymphs the grotto is dedicated to. This grotto is where the love story of the beautiful Philida and Daphnis started off. The son of Hermes and a local nymph, the favourite of the gods and particularly of muses, Daphnis tended his flocks on the slopes of mount Etna amusing himself with playing the siringa and singing the bucolic songs of his invention. Legends and songs, including Gessner’s poem, are related to Daphnis’s torments and premature death. Hackert, who had repeatedly painted views of Etna, enlivened the landscape by introducing a scene from a familiar poem devoted to the young Sicilian hero. On display in the Russian Museum in St.Petersburg is an enlarged version of the painting ‘Scene from the Idyllic Poem ‘Daphnis’ by S.Gessner, with an inscription ‘Tiré de Daphnis Gessner par Ph. Hackert f. à Rome 1781’ (inv. № ЖБ-760; oil on canvas; 170×22). The other version is kept at the Art Museum in Lugansk. Similar to the Hermitage piece is the composition of Hackert’s painting ‘Dido and Aeneas Seeking Shelter from a Thunderstorm in a Grotto’ on view at the Lower Saxony State Museum in Hannover. The author of the comment: Maria Garlova

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