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Photo-post #1 – Trionfo di Galatea, Raphael

Raffaello Sanzio,Trionfo di Galatea, 1512. Villa Chigi (Farnesina), Roma

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Raphael painted some frescoes in Villa Chigi, for the banker Agostino Chigi, one of the richest men of that age (later, the building was renamed as Farnesina when the Farnese family acquired it).

This fresco with mythological scene, embellished an gallery open on the garden, but the series was never completed.

Here, Raphael is inspired by Latin and Greek poems, but the scene painted is not a main one, while the nymph’s apotheosis as in this painting, doesn’t appear in the ancient poems.


At nos, quod fieri solum per fata licebat,

fecimus, ut vires adsumeret Acis avitas.

Puniceus de mole cruor manabat, et intra

Temporis exiguum rubor evanescere coepit

fitque color primo fluminis imbre

purgaturque mora; tum moles iacta dehiscit,

vivaque per rimas proceraque surgit harundo,

osque cavum saxi sonat exsultantibus undis,

miraque res, subito media tenus exstitit alvo

incinctus iuvenis flexis nova cornua cannis,

qui, nisi quod maior, quod toto caerulus ore,

Acis erat, sed sic quoque erat tament Acis, in amnem

versus, et antiquum tenuerunt flumina nomen

 Ovid, Metamorphoses, book XIII 📖

(TR: Then I, doing the only thing that fate allowed me, caused Acis to assume his ancestral powers. From the rock, crimson blood seeped out, and in a little while its redness began to fade, became the colour of a river at first swollen by rain, gradually clearing. Then the rock, that Polyphemus had hurled, cracked open, and a tall green reed sprang from the fissure, and the mouth of a chamber in the rock echoed with leaping waters, and (a marvel) suddenly a youth stood, waist-deep in the water, his fresh horns wreathed with rushes. It was Acis, except that he was larger, and his face dark blue: yet it was still Acis, changed to a river-god, and his waters still retain his former name)

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