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  • Continence of Scipio

    Artist:
    Reynolds, Joshua. 1723-1792
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    239,5x165,5 cm

Reynolds, Joshua. 1723-1792

Continence of Scipio

Great Britain, 1789

In 1785 the British diplomat Lord Carysfort was entrusted with a commission to Reynolds for two paintings, one for Catherine the Great of Russia, and the other for her favourite friend and adviser, Prince Grigory Potyomkin. The artist himself was to choose the subject. For Potyomkin's painting, Reynolds settled on a subject from Livy's History of Rome. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus (c. 235 - c. 183 BC), military commander and hero of the Second Punic War, showing virtue and great restraint (or "continence"), returns a beautiful captive Carthaginian woman to her fiance. This was a very obvious hint at the virtue of Potyomkin himself - a renowned general, he led the Russian army in campaigns against Turkey. The composition is based on a contrast between the powerful figure of the hero, calm and unshaking, and the tender captive, almost fainting from the endured misfortunes. The painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1789 and met with a mixed reaction. Some criticized the overloaded composition as a major defect, others noticed the beautiful colouring, "equal to the finest works of the Flemish School".

Title:

Continence of Scipio

Place:

Date:

Material:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

239,5x165,5 cm

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-1347

Category:

Collection:

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