The Sacrifice of Iphigenia

Gaetano Gandolfi Italian

Not on view

This oil sketch for a ceiling in Palazzo Gnudi Scagliarini in Bologna takes its subject from the Greek playwright Euripides (ca. 480–406 BC). Agamemnon's daughter is about to be sacrificed to appease the goddess Diana, who at the climactic moment appears and substitutes a deer on the altar. A flying putto halts the priest's hand, while the warrior Achilles, who had attempted to intervene, lies on the ground, astonished at the turn of events. Brilliantly staged, the picture is painted with extraordinary verve. The frame was designed for this painting, indicating how collectors appreciated oil sketches beyond their practical function in preparing larger works.

The Sacrifice of Iphigenia, Gaetano Gandolfi (Italian, San Matteo della Decima 1734–1802 Bologna), Oil on canvas

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