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Title Jupiter and Alkmene in an Architectural Setting
Collection Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle
Artist Delen, Dirck van (Dutch painter, 1604 or 1605-1671)
Date 1669 (dated)
Signed yes

This mythological episode was the subject of Greek tragedies and of Molière's Amphitryon in the seventeenth century. It also appeared in Ovid's The Loves. Alkmene welcomes the god Jupiter, who has disguised himself as her husband Amphitryon in order to spend the night with her.

The scene is dominated by architecture in the Antwerp Baroque style. The pink, black and white marble characterises Dirk Van Delen's work from 1630. Delen, who was mainly an architectural painter, often copied his figures from prints by Italian artists. The sculptural group on the right derives from a print by Guido Reni.

Current Accession Number B.M.606
Former Accession Number No. 249
Inscription front lr 'D. van DELEN. Ft 1669[?]'
Subject mythology (Jupiter and Alkmene); buildings and gardens; literature (Molière, Amphitryon; Ovid, The Loves)
Measurements 49 x 59 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by the founders John and Joséphine Bowes 1885.
Publications Mayer, A. L., 'Die Gemäldesammlung des Bowes Museum zu Barnard Castle'(?), Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, vol. 23(?), 1912.

Inscribed on reverse: 'Jupiter et Alkmene [...] amphit rion'.

Bryan Crossling thought that the painting could be a copy after Van Delen, possibly by one of his followers, and proposed the name of Wilhelm van Elvenberg. In correspondence, Bernard Vermet confirmed Van Delen's authorship.

A copy of this painting was sold at Sotheby's, New York, 14 October 1999, lot 80, as by Jakob Ferdinand Saeys.

Rights Owner The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham
Author Dr Mercedes Cerón




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