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J. Paul Getty Museum

Mythological Scene gm-00082601

Mythological Scene gm-00082601

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Dosso Dossi (Giovanni di Niccolò de Lutero) (Italian (Ferrarese), about 1490–1542)

An array of enticing visual clues has given rise to many theories about Dosso Dossi's Mythological Scene, but no one has determined the painting's precise meaning, if the artist indeed intended for one to exist. The male figure on the right of the composition is the Greek pastoral god Pan, leading some scholars to refer to this work as the Allegory of Pan. Pan was a satyr, who in Renaissance allegories personifies lust. He owed his amorous reputation to his seduction of the nymphs by playing music on his syrinx, which he holds here in his left hand. The sleeping nude in the foreground may be the nymph Echo, who spurned Pan for Narcissus. The old woman at the center of the group is perhaps Echo's protector Gea (Earth), who sits above her and shields her from harm. The woman next to her, wearing armor over a green gown and enveloped by a billowing red cape, has yet to be identified. A group of erotes (winged gods of love) hover alongside the citrus trees.

Some scholars argue that Dosso wished to illustrate a specific episode from a single myth, relating to the life of Pan, perhaps originating from the works by the ancient poets Ovid or Nonnus. The painting may in fact lack a unified theme, but instead presents a mythologically inspired scene as a legitimating context for the depiction of eroticized bodies. The inclusion of meticulously painted citrus trees and flowers might have been intended to appeal to the educated viewer’s knowledge of science and nature. Dosso may here be encouraging the viewer to deliberate on the associated powers of nature, poetry, and art.

This painting underwent considerable alterations during the course of its creation. The artist originally covered the unidentified armored woman, painting a landscape over the top, but the figure was later uncovered during restoration in the nineteenth century. X-radiograph photography reveals a partially cut-off figure of a man under the lower part of the landscape, as well as a suit of armor and a sword hanging from the lemon tree, a bas viol (an instrument akin to a cello) held by the woman in the red cape, and a downward gaze on the face of the old woman. At least eight inches of the canvas were also cut away from the left side at some point in time. Dosso regularly revised his compositions in this manner, adding and subtracting figures and other key elements, contributing further to difficulties in identifying and understanding his subject matter.

Art Prints are printed on heavy matte finish German art paper using the finest Canon archival inks. Frame is black natural with a white mattboard and Acrylite glazing.

Wall Murals are printed on 42" matte finish, self-adhesive Kodak PhotoText fabric panels that combine and mount easily on a non textured wall surface. We can custom make to any size, just ask.

Stretched Canvas is stretched by hand over 1.5" thick pine bars and printed on cotton poly matte finish canvas. Each is canvas hand coated with Hahnemuhle UV/Archive coating, these are Swiss quality best in industry canvases.


All our images are digitized from the original negative , printed and assembled in Switzerland to museum standards by our master printer.

All of our products are popular and custom made by hand to order, please allow 4-6 weeks to make them and 1-2 weeks for shipment anywhere in the world.

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Artwork in this collection is from The J. Paul Getty Museum. Reproduction rights are reserved by the copyright owner and used under license by Archivea GmbH. .

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