Jupiter and Mercury reveal themselves to Philemon and Baucis

Elie-Honoré Montagny French

Not on view

Until recently, little was known about the life and career of Montagny, who trained with Jacques Louis David beginning in 1794. This drawing relates to a commission he received in 1809 from Caroline Murat, Napoleon’s sister and the queen consort of Naples, while he was working in the Italian city. The subject, from Ovid’s "Metamorphoses," underscores the virtue of hospitality. Philemon and Baucis, the elderly couple who kneel at left, were the only people in their village to welcome disguised Jupiter and Mercury into their home to share a modest meal. Montagny shows the moment the gods reveal their identities to their hosts. Originally sent to Italy to copy antiquities for a publication on ancient iconography, Montagny relied on his knowledge of classical statues to model the figures of the gods in this drawing.

Jupiter and Mercury reveal themselves to Philemon and Baucis, Elie-Honoré Montagny (French, Paris 1782–1864 Paris), Pen and brown ink, brush and brown and gray washes, with touches of white gouache. Laid down. Squared in graphite.

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