The Death of Hyacinthus

Tiepolo was a Venetian artist who specialised in frescoes, amongst them the ones decorating the Royal Palace in Madrid, commissioned by King Charles III.

His style was highly personal and very recognizable and features pale, cold colours and very blue skies, with large white clouds. Against these he set his figures in a manner that was unlike the colourful style of other painters at the time.

In this canvas, the artist has once again used his characteristic pale colours and a background of Classical architecture. A young man lies mortally wounded in the foreground. It is Hyacinthus, the lover of the god Apollo, who we can recognize behind him, wearing a laurel wreath and with an expression of despair on his face. The two of them were playing a racket and ball game when Apollo accidently hit Hyacinthus on the head with the ball, unfortunately killing him. Cupid appears between them as a symbol of their love.

Notice the racket and balls that you can see in the lower right hand corner. They are reminiscent of modern tennis equipment. This painting by Tiepolo was commissioned by the German Count Wilhelm Friedrich Schaumburg Lippe, who was reputed to be a fine tennis player. Next to the young man we can see some hyacinth flowers, which grew where Hyacinthus’s blood fell. The entire composition is highly theatrical.

(c) (R) 2013, MUSMon com S.L.
Text (a) Catalina Serrano Romero

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Author: DcoetzeeBot
Permission: This artwork is in the public domain: The author of this artwork died more than 70 years ago. According to E.U. Copyright Law, copyright expires 70 years after the author's death. In other countries, legislation may differ.