A-Level: Baroque mythological painting

videos + essays

Peter Paul Rubens, <em>Venus, Mars and Cupid</em>
Peter Paul Rubens, Venus, Mars and Cupid

Was it a diplomatic gift? Is it even a Rubens? Many questions surround this work; technical analysis can help.

Nicolas Poussin, <em>Et in Arcadia Ego</em>
Nicolas Poussin, Et in Arcadia Ego

From the setting sun to the ancient tomb, Poussin’s subject is time passing. We sense his longing for a lost past.

Peter Paul Rubens, <em>The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus</em>
Peter Paul Rubens, The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus

The myth is ancient, but these figures couldn’t be closer. Rubens’s virtuoso brushwork and color are on display.

Caravaggio, <em>Narcissus at the Source</em>
Caravaggio, Narcissus at the Source

Embracing his own reflection, Narcissus falls in love with himself—and into the water. Good thing it’s just paint!

Diego Velázquez, <em>Vulcan’s Forge</em>
Diego Velázquez, Vulcan’s Forge

Don’t strike the messenger! Interrupted at his forge, a horrified Vulcan looks ready to hammer Apollo.

Diego Velázquez, <em>Los Borrachos (The Drunks),</em> or <em>The Triumph of Bacchus</em>
Diego Velázquez, Los Borrachos (The Drunks), or The Triumph of Bacchus

Velázquez lends immediacy and gritty realism to a mythological subject. We are right there, ready to partake.

Guido Reni, <em>Aurora</em>
Guido Reni, Aurora

Aurora’s chariot brings forth a new day, but Reni’s classicism looks back to the art of ancient Greece and Rome.