Horace and Lydia1843
A nude woman clasps her arms around the neck of a man reclining on a draped bench. He is being served wine by a kneeling servant. At the extreme right is a column entwined with vine grapes. The subjects of this painting have traditionally been identified as the Roman poet, Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65-8 BC) and Lydia, a Roman courtesan, who figures prominently in the poet's "Odes." An identical composition, though distinguished by more dramatic illumination, is in the Wallace collection, London, inv. P340, dated 1843, listed as "A Roman Feast." The composition is generally described as an essay preliminary to the celebrated "Romans of the Decadence," Louvre, R.F. 3451, shown at the Salon of 1847. Superficial similarities can be cited between the poses of the figures in the small composition and those of the reclining couple at the left side of the Salon picture, and also between the laurel-wreathed male head in this picture and the head of the second figure witnessing the orgy at the extreme right in the Louvre painting. Drawings related to the London and Baltimore pictures were sold at the Hôtel Drouot, Paris, November 23, 1970, and again June 25, 1973.
- H: 8 7/16 x W: 10 5/8 in. (21.5 x 27 cm)
- oil on panel
- Courtesy of the Walters Art Museum
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