Raphael’s Triumph of Galatea is based on Greek mythology. Galatea was part of a love triangle of sorts. She had fallen in love with a shepherd by the name of Acis. This made Polyphemus jealous and he used a huge pillar to kill his rival. This fresco is part of a series but the entire series was never finished.
In the midst of this, Galatea’s face is moved in the direction of Heaven with a gentle, pure demeanor. Her facial expression and physical posture proposes she’s oblivious to all the robust goings on about her. This is a case of Raphael’s style. His choice to portray her as such furthermore demonstrates how entranced specialists of the Renaissance were with Ancient Greece.
As subject Raphael chose a verse from a poem by the Florentine Angelo Poliziano which had also helped to inspire Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. These lines describe how the clumsy giant Polyphemus sings a love song to the fair sea-nymph Galatea and how she rides across the waves in a chariot drawn by two dolphins, laughing at his uncouth song, while the gay company of other sea-gods and nymphs is milling round her.
The Sienese banker and art patron Agostino Chigi, whose great wealth made him one of the most powerful men of his age, built his Roman villa in the Trastevere district. Its construction and decoration were conducted by the Sienese painter and architect Baldassare Peruzzi, who, in turn, brought in other painters, including Sodoma and Sebastiano del Piombo, to execute parts of the fresco decorations. The ground-floor grand salon of the house has an ingenious and highly intricate ceiling fresco that treats Chigi’s horoscope; the stars were painted in the guise of personifications arranged in the sky at the moment of his birth. On the walls were planned a series of frescoes dealing with the gods of the earth and of the sea. Only two were ever executed: Sebastiano’s Polyphemus and Raphael’s Galatea. In contrast to its counterpart next to it, Raphael’s fresco offers continual turmoil and swift movement, as the graceful Galatea streaks across the sea in a shell propelled by dolphins.
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Acis And Galatea Painting
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In Greek mythology, Galatea (meaning вЂњshe who is milk-whiteвЂќ) is a sea-nymph known as a Nereid. Although she had appeared in other classical Greek tales, the story of Galatea and Acis first appeared in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. She falls in love with Acis, a beautiful, mortal shephard who is the son of Faunus, god of the forest, and the river-nymph Symaethis. Although her heart belongs to Acis, Galatea is also pursued by the Sicilian cyclops Polyphemus. Polyphemus becomes enraged by Galatea and AcisвЂ™s affair, and strikes Acis with a boulder, killing him instantly. Blood then bursts from the stone, and a grieving Galatea turns AcisвЂ™s blood into the Sicilian river Acis, where he is immortalized as a spirit.
The story of Galatea and Acis proved inspirational for other mediums of art, particularly opera. Jean-Baptiste Lully based his 1686 opera Acis et GalatГ©e a on the love triangle between Galatea, Acis and Polyphemus . This was followed by Giovanni BononciniвЂ™s one-act opera Polifemo in 1703. However, the most well-known opera depicting the tale is undoubtedly the version by George Frideric Handel, Acis and Galatea. Although earlier versions of the pastoral opera focused on Polyphemus as an equally important character, in the final version, the story is more solely focused on the two lovers. Critics argue that HandelвЂ™s version is the greatest pastoral opera ever composed.