Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Apollo and Aurora

Gerard de Lairesse (Dutch, Liège 1641–1711 Amsterdam)
Oil on canvas
80 1/2 x 76 1/8 in. (204.5 x 193.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Manuel E. and Ellen G. Rionda, 1943
Accession Number:
Not on view
Lairesse left his native Liège in 1664 and settled in Amsterdam the following year. He found work immediately with the art dealer Gerrit Uylenburgh and through him became acquainted with Rembrandt, who painted Lairesse's portrait in about 1665–1667 (Robert Lehman Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art). As a painter and (after he became blind about 1690) as an art theorist, Lairesse favored idealized decorations influenced by artists of the French Academy. The Museum's painting, an early work, was probably intended as a chimney-piece for a large house in Amsterdam. The sun god Apollo and his occasional companion, Aurora, goddess of the dawn, are familiar figures in Baroque art but unusually in this case appear to have been given the features of a young couple, perhaps at the time of their marriage.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower left): G. Lairesse f. . . 1671
?Nicolas Pancras, Amsterdam (1671–d. 1678); ?his widow, Petronella de Waert, Amsterdam (1678–d. 1709); ?their son, Gerbrand Nicolasz. Pancras, Amsterdam (1709–d. 1716; his estate sale, Amsterdam, April 7, 1716, no. 2, as "Apollo en Aurora," for fl. 60); Mrs. S. M. Pike, New York, and/or her daughter, Mrs. James D. Goin, New York (before 1903); by descent to Mr. and Mrs. Manuel E. (Ellen Goin) Rionda, Alpine, N.J. (until 1943)
Amsterdam. Rijksmuseum. "The Glory of the Golden Age," April 15–September 17, 2000, no. 200.

Dordrechts Museum. "Greek Gods and Heroes in the Age of Rubens and Rembrandt," February 3–May 8, 2001, no. 44 (as "Helios and Eos").

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 18, 2007–January 6, 2008, no catalogue.

Gerard Hoet. Catalogus of Naamlyst van Schilderyen, met derzelver pryzen, zedert een langen reeks van Jaaren zoo in Holland als op andere Plaatzen in het openbaar verkogt. Vol. 1, The Hague, 1752, p. 186, no. 2, as sold for fl. 60 in the Pancras sale of 1716, probably this picture.

J. J. M. Timmers. A History of Dutch Life and Art. [London], 1959, p. 137, pl. 428, as "Apotheosis of the House of Orange-Nassau".

D. P. Snoep. "Gerard Lairesse als plafond- en kamerschilder." Bulletin van het Rijksmuseum 18 (December 1970), p. 214 n. 4, rejects the title "Apotheosis of the House of Orange," and suggests that the figures of Apollo and Aurora are perhaps portraits.

Peter C. Sutton. A Guide to Dutch Art in America. Grand Rapids, Mich., 1986, pp. 182–83, fig. 259.

Beatrijs Brenninkmeyer-de Rooij in Ben Broos. De Rembrandt à Vermeer: Les peintres hollandais au Mauritshuis de La Haye. Exh. cat., Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris. The Hague, 1986, p. 66, fig. 41, contrasts it to Jacob van Campen's work of the same subject of about twenty years earlier (Huis ten Bosch, The Hague).

Jacques Hendrick. La peinture au pays de Liège: XVIe, XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles. Liège, 1987, p. 178, fig. 159 (color), as "Apothéose de la Maison de Nassau (ou, Apollon et Flore)".

Alain Roy. Gérard de Lairesse (1640–1711). Paris, 1992, pp. 71, 245–46, no. P. 67, ill. p. 245 and colorpl. 10, as "Apollon et l'Aurore (Apothéose de Guillaume d'Orange)".

Jane Davidson Reid with the assistance of Chris Rohmann in The Oxford Guide to Classical Mythology in the Arts, 1300–1900s. New York, 1993, vol. 2, p. 174.

Lyckle de Vries. "Review of Roy 1992." Oud-Holland 109, no. 1/2 (1995), p. 114, rejects Roy's identification of Apollo with William III [William of Orange].

Jacobine Huisken et al., ed. Jacob van Campen: Het klassieke ideaal in de Gouden Eeuw. Amsterdam, 1995, pp. 79, 254 n. 139, fig. 64.

Wayne Franits. "Young Women Preferred White to Brown: Some Remarks on Nicolaes Maes and the Cultural Context of Late Seventeenth-Century Dutch Portraiture." Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 46 (1995), pp. 407, 415 n. 64, fig. 8, finds Roy's [see Ref. 1992] identification of the picture as an allegorical portrait of William of Orange unconvincing, and suggests that the work may represent "a 'portrait historié' of an unknown husband and wife in the guise of Apollo and Aurora".

Leen Huet in Histoire de la peinture en Belgique du XIVe siècle à nos jours. Ed. Philippe Roberts-Jones. Brussels, 1995, p. 171, ill. p. 195 (color).

Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann in The Robert Lehman Collection. Vol. 2, Fifteenth- to Eighteenth-Century European Paintings. New York, 1998, pp. 145, 147 n. 32.

León Krempel. Studien zu den datierten Gemälden des Nicolaes Maes (1634–1693). Petersberg, Germany, 2000, pp. 98, 131 n. 183, fig. 462.

Marlies Enklaar et al. in Greek Gods and Heroes in the Age of Rubens and Rembrandt. Ed. Peter Schoon and Sander Paarlberg. Exh. cat., National Gallery/Alexandros Soutzos Museum. Athens, [2000], pp. 61, 186, 244, 278, 367, no. 44, ill. pp. 13 (color detail) and 245 (color overall).

Walter Liedtke et al. Vermeer and the Delft School. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2001, p. 400 n. 4.

Horton A. Johnson. "Gerard de Lairesse: Genius Among the Treponemes." Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 97 (June 2004), p. 302, fig. 2.

Walter Liedtke. "Gerard de Lairesse and Jacob de Wit 'in situ'." The Learned Eye: Regarding Art, Theory, and the Artist's Reputation: Essays for Ernst van de Wetering. Ed. Marieke van den Doel et al. Amsterdam, 2005, pp. 193, 195, 199, 203 n. 22, fig. 2 (color), ill. p. 179 (color detail).

Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), pp. 49, 55, fig. 58 (color).

Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. xi–xii, 415–21, no. 104, colorpl. 104, fig. 107 (color detail); vol. 2, pp. 897, 954, tentatively identifies the sitters as Gerbrand Pancras and one of his sisters, probably Maria Pancras.

Mariët Westermann in Rembrandt, pintor de historias. Ed. Alejandro Vergara. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid, 2008, p. 93, fig. 49 (color).

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