François Lemoyne (1688 - 1737)
- Perseus and Andromeda
- Oil on canvas
- Image size: 183 x 149.7 cm
- Signature: 'f. Lemoyne. / 1723.'
- Great Gallery
- The Ethiopian princess Andromeda was sacrificed to appease the wrath of Neptune, god of the sea, who had been angered by her mother’s boast that she and her daughter were more beautiful than the Nereids, nymphs of the sea. The hero, Perseus, flying overhead, saw the beautiful naked girl chained to a rock offshore. Falling in love with her, he rescued her from Neptune’s sea-monster and married her.
Lemoyne's painting depicts a story that had been treated by major Italian Renaissance painters. His obvious model was Veronese's painting in Rennes (Musée des Beaux-Arts) that formed part of the French Royal collection in the eighteenth century. The general composition and the main distribution of colours are both taken from Veronese's model. Within this framework, Lemoyne adapted the postures of the figures. Another, less direct model might have been Titian's painting in the Wallace Collection that was in the Orléans collection at the Palais Royal in Paris at the time. Lemoyne must have chosen the subject and his model himself. The painting was shown at the open-air exhibition on Place Dauphine in Paris in 1723, right after it had been finished, and was acquired at the exhibition by François Berger who became the painter's greatest supporter and collector. Lemoyne might have chosen the Venetian model to rival the great Venetian painters. He also developed a brilliant, painterly style with clearly visible brushstrokes close to the Venetians. The pastel-like quality of the colours is typical for the aesthetics of the 1720s in France. The painting was also shown at the Salon of 1725, then already in Berger's possession who commissioned "Hercules and Omphale" (Paris, musée du Louvre) as a pendant
The financier François Berger built up a substantial collection of Lemoyne's works and also owned "Time Saving Truth from Envy and Falsehood" in the Wallace Collection (P392).