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The Father of Psyche sacrificing at the Temple of Apollo

Claude Lorrain (Champagne 1600 – Rome 1682)

Category

Art / Oil paintings

Date

1662 - 1663

Materials

Oil on canvas

Measurements

1906 x 2380 x 70 mm

Place of origin

Rome

Order this image

Collection

Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire

NT 515656

Caption

This picture shows a king praying that his daughter, Psyche, will find a suitable husband. Unfortunately, Psyche’s beauty, knowledge of whose beauty became widespread throughout the lands, had provoked the jealousy of Venus, who condemned her to marry hideous creatures. Her story was told in the Roman Apuleius's novel, The Golden Ass Book 4. The painting was made in 1662 for Angelo Albertoni, a Roman nobleman, whose son Gasparo Altieri commissioned a second picture, The Arrival of Aeneas at Pallanteum, which was completed in 1675 as a pendant to Psyche.

Summary

Oil painting on canvas, The Father of Psyche sacrificing at the Temple of Apollo by Claude Lorrain (Champagne 1600 – Rome 1682), signed (on staircase on left) and dated: CLAUDIO G. . .LEE FECIT ROMA 166 (last digit illegible; possibly 1662 or 3). A tiny inscription on the left of it is illegible but was recorded in 1801 as: IL TEMPIO DI APPOLLO CLAUDIS GILLE INVEN. FECIT ROM. 1665. Temple scene at left, bridge over river at centre, landscape in background. In 1799 Beckford showed artists like Girtin, Constable and J. M. W. Turner the 'Altieri' Claudes at his London house. Turner said 'He was both pleased and unhappy while He viewed it - it seemed to be beyond the power of imitation.'

Provenance

Painted by 1665 for Angelo Paluzzi degli Albertoni, Marquess of Rosina (1623 - 1698); his son, who had been created Prince and assumed the name of Altieri - Prince Gasparo Paluzzi degli Albertoni Altieri (In 1667 Prince Gasparo had married the Altieri heiress and assumed her name, and had been created papal nephew on the accession of her uncle, Emilio Altieri - Pope Clement X (1590-1676) on 29 April 1670) (Liber Veritatis 157); at Palazzo Altieri, Rome until 1798/9 when the family, fearful of sequestration by the French offered the paintings to Tatham, who declined to buy them, because he was afraid that they would be seized at sea (Britton); instead in 1798/1799 both this and its pendant 'Landscape with the Arrival of Aeneas at Pallanteum' (1675) which have since always remained together, were bought in 1799 by two artists-cum-dealers, Charles Grignion (1754-1804) and Robert Fagan (c.1745-1816), and brought to England (Nelson detached a frigate from the Mediterranean Fleet to act as escort); sold on arrival in England to Henry Tresham for William Beckford (1760-1844) of Fonthill for £6,825 the pair; sold to Richard Hart-Davis (1766 - 1842), June 1808 through the dealer Harris for 12, 000 gns the pair (at the time the most expensive amount ever paid for paintings on canvas); by whom sold in 1813 to Philip John Miles (1774-1845) and thence by descent to his son Sir Philp Miles, Bt (1825 - 1888) of Leigh Court, Somerset; sold Christie's 18 June 1884, bought for 3,800 guineas by Agnew and sold to Captain Robert B. Brassey by whom sold Christie's 3 May 1940, lot 75 and bought for 700 guineas by George Edward Alexander Edmund, Duke of Kent (1902-1942); his widow HRH the Duchess of Kent, sold Christie's 14 March 1947, lots 28 & 29; bought. for 2,200 guineas by Leggatt for Lord Fairhaven; bequeathed to the National Trust by Huttleston Rogers Broughton, 1st Lord Fairhaven (1896-1966) with the house and the rest of the contents.

Credit line

Anglesey Abbey, The Fairhaven Collection (National Trust)

Marks and inscriptions

Recto: Gilt tablet affixed to bottom of frame, inscribed: Priests Sacrificing to Apollo or The Idolatry of Solomon. 1600 Claude Le Lorrain 1682. Painted for Signor Angelino Angelini. Liber Veritatis 157. From the Beckford Collection. Exhibited at the British Institution, 1816, No. 28. Exhibited at Burlington House, 1870, No. 142; From the Collection of Sir Philip Miles, Bart., 1884. From the collection of Capt. Robert B.Brassey, 1940. From the Collection of H.R.H. the late Duke of Kent, K.G., K.T., G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O. Exhibited at Burlington House, 1956, No. 71.

Makers and roles

Claude Lorrain (Champagne 1600 – Rome 1682), artist

Exhibition history

Turner Inspired, in the Light of Claude, National Gallery, London, 2012

References

Kitson 1960 Michael Kitson, 'The 'Altieri Claudes' and Virgil', The Burlington Magazine, 102, no. 688, July 1960, p. 312 Röthlisberger 1961 Marcel Röthlisberger, Claude Lorraine, The Paintings, 2 vols, New Haven, 1961 , p.370 Waagen 1854-7: Gustav Waagen, Treasures of Art in Great Britain, 3 vols. (translated by Lady Eastlake) with a supplementary volume: Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain, London, 1854-7, Vol.III, p.180

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